Wealth, Wealthy

Wealth may be the result of industry (Pr 10:4), or the result of the special blessing of God (2Ch 1:11,12). We are warned to be careful lest at any time we should say "My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember Yahweh thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth" (De 8:17,18).

Those possessing wealth are liable to certain kinds of sins against which they are frequently warned, e.g., highmindedness (1Ti 6:17); oppression of the poor (Jas 2:6); selfishness (Lu 12 and 16); dishonesty (Lu 19:1-10); self-conceit (Pr 28:11); self-trust (Pr 18:11).

It is of interest to note that in the five places in the New Testament in which the word "lucre"--as applying to wealth--is used, it is prefaced by the word "filthy" (1Ti 3:3 (the King James Version),8; Tit 1:7,11; 1Pe 5:2), and that in four of these five places it refers to the income of ministers of the gospel, as though they were particularly susceptible of being led away by the influences and power of money, and so needed special warning.

The Scriptures are not without instruction as to how we may use our wealth wisely and as well-pleasing to God. The parable of the Unjust Steward (Lu 16) exhorts us to "make .... friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness," by which is meant that we should use the wealth which God has committed to us as stewards in order that we may win friends (souls) with it for Him and His kingdom, just as the unfaithful steward used the goods with which his master had entrusted him to make friends for himself. The parable of Dives and Lazarus gives us the sad picture of a selfish rich man who had abused his trust, who had failed to make friends with his money, and who, in the other world, would have given anything just for such a friend (Lu 16:19-31).

See also RICHES.