HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsShould a Christian be rich or poor?

Should a Christian be rich or poor?


The best way to get some “Christians” into a tantrum is to talk to them about prosperity.

For a long time, riches have been associated with the world, rather than the things of God.

In fact, the Church has for centuries exhorted its flock to prefer poverty and want as a sign of godliness.

The message was simple. Struggle and suffer in this world, and enjoy when you step into heaven.
But Christians need to disabuse their minds of the notion that poverty entails godliness.

Poverty is a curse, and the sooner Christians realise this, the better. The Bible says we are called to manifest the glory of God. And God is not poor!

The Bible says although Jesus was rich, he became poor for our sakes so that we may become rich (II Corinthians 8:9).

We’re called to be rich. Why should a Christian be made to feel guilty because of his wealth? And if you’re poor, how can you be a channel of blessings to those around you?

There are spiritual laws that govern money, which are the key principles of prosperity. In Malachi 3: 8-11 we are told to offer our tithes.

Your tithe is a tenth of your total income and, if you are a Christian, that money does not belong to you, but to God.

If you don’t pay your tithes, you’re stealing from God, so you can’t expect him to bless you and increase you financially.

If you tithe, however, the scripture says God will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessings you’ll not even be able to contain them.

Some Christians, under the ruse of “humility” claim that money isn’t important! But the Bible is clear about this because it says “money answereth all things” (Ecclesiastes 10:19) and “the ransom of a man’s life are his riches” (Proverbs 13: 8).

A story is told of a Christian who was involved in a fatal accident and ended up in a coma. When a church delegation came for a visit, they decided not to pray, but simply declared that this man was a big-time giver, so his money was going to speak on his behalf.

The following day, the man was out of hospital. His money became the ransom for his life.

Money given as tithes and offerings is not supposed to line the pastor’s pocket, but to finance the gospel.

Anyone who dips his hand in the church coffers courts the wrath of God.

When a person gives an offering, there could be issues haunting their lives, and they make that sacrifice for God to intervene.

So when you steal that money, you stand between that person and God, offering yourself to deal with those issues.

There are also widespread cases of pastors who reportedly demand certain, specific amounts of money from their congregations as offerings.
This is not biblical.

An offering must come from the heart, and a person must give willingly as they are moved by the Holy Spirit.

In fact, the Apostle Paul says: “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9: 6 – 7).
When you force people to give, they give grudgingly and out of necessity, so they can easily miss out on the blessing.

When you give, God is not really concerned with the amount, but he looks as the motive behind the act, and the attendant attitude.

Unless you have a revelation on giving, you can’t give with understanding and reap the benefits.
An important spiritual law on giving is spelt out in Luke 6:38:

“Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.”

If you are a believer, then this is the PIN code with which you unlock the bountiful treasures of heaven.

We are further told in Proverbs 11:24 – 25 the keys to financial success.

Here the Bible says one “scattereth (gives away), and yet increaseth” while the one who does not give “tendeth to poverty”. So if the life of poverty is your dream, don’t give and while you’re doing that, “the liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself”.

The Bible further makes an interesting comparison between the fate of a rich man and that of one who wallows in the murky waters of poverty in Proverbs 10:15 – “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.”

There is no reason to envy wealthy unbelievers.

You might not be there yet, but you have to understand that their wealth belong to God’s children, and, unknowingly, they are storing it up for us because “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Proverbs 13:22).

It is also significant to look at, and draw lessons, from the patriarchs associated with God in the book of Genesis. The Bible, so many times, talks of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This is our genealogy for we are told in Galatians that we are the seed of Abraham. This is a very significant association.

Abraham was “very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold” (Genesis 13:2). His son Isaac “waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him” (Genesis 26: 13 –14).

Then Jacob, the next in line, “increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants and manservants, and camels and asses” (Genesis 30:43).

If you are a Christian, this is your family line. In our day, however, we talk of houses, of businesses, cars, cash and all the finer things life has on offer!

The more you increase in wealth, however, the more humble you are supposed to become. When you’re poor, or of modest means, that does not in any way imply that you are humble. You can still be proud in your poverty.

On the other hand, when you’re rich, that doesn’t imply you are proud or haughty because the opposite can still be true.

So, if you’re a Christian, start claiming your inheritance in Christ. Become so rich that you can have enough for yourself and more to bless those around you!

It’s about time society disabuses itself of the notion that wealth and riches are not for the Christian. This is the substance with which we are supposed to honour the Lord.

Feedback: phillipc@newsday.co.zw

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