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Does God Want Us to Have Nice Things Wealth

Some people can get kind of weird when you start talking about God and wealth.  So many of us are taught that poverty and lack of material goods breeds humility and brings you closer to God.  At the other end of the spectrum are the preachers asking their flock for a new $65 million private jet because the one they have is getting old and worn out.

Does God really want us to have nice things and live a life of wealth?  Or should we only consume what we need and live a humble life with few material possessions?

Is one side right and the other wrong?  Could they both be right to some degree?

In today’s post, I thought I would try to unpack this debate on whether God wants us to have nice things.  Hopefully we can get to a few of the central truths within this issue that has a tendency to divide believers.

 

First, a Few Confessions

Before I start digging into the God and wealth debate, I have a confession or two to make.  I own a couple of luxury cars (Lexus and Infiniti).  I also own a gold Rolex watch and live in a 4,000 square foot home.  Also, I just gave my wife a Rolex watch for our 20th wedding anniversary the day before this was posted.  A few months ago, I even treated myself to a beautiful $90 belt from a local luxury leather goods maker here in Nashville.

How did reading that make you feel?

Did it make you feel like “wow that guy is blessed!”, or did it make your skin crawl and cause you to wonder what good and noble things could have been done with that money?

I’ll talk a little more about those feelings in a minute.  But first, just what are these “nice things” I’m talking about?

 

Does God Really Want Us to Have Nice Things? Bling vs. the Bible-

 

We All Have Nice Things

One thing you have to consider when it comes to the term “nice things” is that it’s a relative term.  Someone living in a third world ghetto with a home that is little more than a lean-to would be incredibly blessed to have a little dilapidated house in the U.S. that most of us would think is uninhabitable.  Just the same, many billionaires might not be caught dead in my 4,000 square foot house in an upscale neighborhood.

The point is that no matter how modest your situation, you will always have more money and nicer things than someone else.

 

Should We Feel Guilty For Having Nice Things?

Do you think I should feel guilty for having an expensive watch?  Should Dave Ramsey feel guilty for paying cash for a multimillion dollar house?  Well, I guess it depends on where your heart is and how you view wealth.

 

What Does The Bible Say About Wealth?

I always strive to look at anything in life through a spiritual lens.  Specifically, I like to find out what the Bible has to say about wealth and material possessions.  So let’s look at a sample of what the Bible has to say:

  • “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19)
  • “If riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” -Psalms 62:10
  • Psalms 112:3 describes a man who fears the Lord. “Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”
  • And many others…

This is just a small sample of the verses you can find in the Bible about wealth.  What they tell us is that a righteous man will have wealth as a result of how he lives his life.  However, if he starts trusting in his wealth and allows it to separate him from God, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The general theme of all the verses on wealth in the Bible is that God should come before wealth.  When you keep that principle intact, wealth will not destroy you.  Ironically, putting God before wealth actually has the benefit of preserving and multiplying wealth.

 

What Are We Supposed to Do With Our Wealth?

So it’s clear that it’s not good to put our trust in wealth.  But what are we supposed to do with it?

According to the Bible, there are several things we should do with the wealth that God provides us with.  Here are some of the ones we’re most familiar with:

 

  • Give- I’ve written many times in this blog over the years about giving and why we should do it. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that we should give generously whether we have a little or a lot.  If you’re not sure, you can go here to read all my posts on giving.
  • Save- The Bible also says we should save a portion of our money as well, as demonstrated in Proverbs 21:20 where it says “ in the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
  • Provide For Present Needs- Of course, you’re expected to use what you have to take care of the present needs of you and your family.  Not taking care of your family means you have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • Leave an Inheritance- You should leave some of your wealth behind for the generations to come.  This includes teaching those generations to use it wisely so they continue the blessing you started (Proverbs 13:22)

 

But Is It OK to Have Nice Things Too?

One of the things that we’re not commonly taught about wealth and material possessions is that we are actually supposed to enjoy them as well.  And we are supposed to enjoy them without feeling guilty.

 

  • Ecclesiastes 5:19 “Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.…”
  • 1 Timothy 6:17 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
  • Proverbs 10:22 “The blessings of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”

 

If you know anything about God, you know He is a god of abundance, not lack.  He loves us.  He wants us to prosper and enjoy the good things He has provided for us.  But we can’t let our nice stuff get in the way of serving Him well.

Being all about the bling will get you nowhere.

 

So Where Do You Draw The Line on Wealth?

The Bible teaches that we should never trust in our wealth whether we have a little or a lot.  Our money and our stuff will only get us so far.  It’s God that we should trust in completely if we want to truly succeed in this life and the next.

But where do you draw the line when it comes to stuff?  Well, that’s between you and God.  Only you can know when your stuff is becoming a burden in your life.  Keeping God as the main focus of your life every day will definitely help you stay on the right side of things.

 

People Will Judge You

The opinions of people will always get in your way if you’re not careful.  Other people’s jealousy, envy, and skewed belief can really do a number on you if you let them.  Whether you have a Manhattan penthouse or just one worn out pair of shoes, don’t let judgmental people make you feel guilty about what you have or don’t have.

On the flip side, be aware of how you talk about people that have more than you.  If you find yourself saying things like “why would anyone need a private jet and a 20,000 square foot house?” then be careful.  It’s very easy to be judgmental of those that have more than you.  Remember, it’s not your job to judge others.  What others choose to have is between them and God.

 

What Do You Think?

So what do you think about all this?  Am I totally off base and need to go jump in the lake?  Did you cringe when I told you about the nice things I own?  Does God really want us to have and enjoy nice things He’s provided us with?

Leave a comment and tell me what you think. 

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  • Bob

    Good article Jason. I have always been troubled by Christians who seem to feel that if you are driving anything better than a 1973 station wagon held together by chewing gum and duct tape then you just aren’t spiritual enough. On one level I have always felt that there is nothing wrong with having nice things. At the same time our culture has become so saturated with the idea that if you are wealthy then you must have taken advantage of people to get there and that you are wrong if you have nicer things than me. Intellectually, I don’t believe that for a minute. And yet I find elements of that which have infiltrated my thinking even as I reject them. When I see a someone driving a 6 figure sports car or living in a million dollar home as much as intellectually I say that is none of my business, there is still a little judgmental voice inside me that says no one needs that. For all I know maybe that guy driving the 100,000 sports car is a billionaire and gave away more money last year than I’ll make in my lifetime.This really came to light for me as I was teaching Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey class a couple years ago. One of the lessons talks specifically about this topic. It was interesting to me how while on the one hand I agreed with what Dave was teaching in the lesson that it is about ratios and attitudes of the heart, that there was still a part of me that had been brainwashed by our culture. That lesson really made me aware of how the culture affects our attitudes even when we don’t want it to.

    • You’re right Bob, we really have to be careful not to let judgementalism creep in and ruin our attitude toward others who have more than us. Judging people for their wealth can be just as bad as having a poverty attitude.

  • I’ve struggled with this issue, partly because I have a frugal nature and admittedly certain things don’t mean much to me. But it’s taken me a while to realize that my money and lifestyle (modest in some ways, less modest in others) are part of how God works in my life. I don’t have money simply to give it to the church or charitable causes (though that is important). Instead, what I have, how I earn, and how I spend are part of my overall purpose. Practically, that may mean that my investments, for example, allow me to send my kids to college or take a vacation or help support a friend’s (or my children’s) mission trips; it also means that I have the time and money to take a trip to the coast to do a century bike ride with friends. — And, I have finally (almost!) stopped cringing when I read about how other spend money. While I still believe that our checkbook can reveal our spending priorities, living with purpose can happen at various levels of wealth and spending.

    • It’s definitely a subject that each individual has to come to grips with on their own. Ultimately it’s between you and God. I’m naturally a very frugal person myself, but I don’t mind splurging on occasion for something nice.

      With that said, I’m definitely not all about my stuff. God has blessed me tremendously with a great income that has allowed me to have those things. We also give away a significant portion of our income, and we strive to give away more every year.

      I think you’re right in that how and what you earn is part of your purpose. We should be good stewards of that by giving, saving, and even enjoying the fruits of our labor without feeling guilty.

      Thanks for the comment Julie!

      • Shirley Woods

        I enjoyed this topic, and have felt all of those feelings. I know that many times God has provided a desire of our heart, that only He knew about. Therefore, He wanted me to have it. Say blue curtains for kitchen or whatever. I believe how we manage what He gives us and our stewardship regulates what He can trust us with. He is definitely the God of blessings. He does bless us with physical and spiritual gifts. We have to trust that He know us and what is best for us. He always gives good gifts. We are all blessed in His Love.

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