Summary: Some Christians say "it is a sin to be poor". Some say "it is a sin to be rich" What should our attitude to earning money be?
“The only time you ever preach about money is when you are talking about tithing” - When somebody said that to me several months ago it hit home. Of course as a Christian Priest, I preach about Christian giving. You wouldn’t expect otherwise. And people clearly listen to those sermons because people in this church are generous in their giving and regularly raise their giving. But if the bible tells us to give 10% of our money back to God - what about the other 90%? It’s a fair point - why haven’t I preached on that? Christianity is about all our life, not just the bits we do in a church building. So what does God have to say about money? Not the bit we give back to him through our tithe - but the rest of it? There are so many issues surrounding the subject of money, and so rarely do they get preached on. So over this Easter season, we are going to have a sermon series on money.
Where do we start? Let’s start with making money. Good or bad?
Christians have never been united in their view of this.
Two extremes -
View 1 “It’s a sin to be poor”
View 2: to be a”Gospel Christian” an “evangelical Christian” - is to have no money AT ALL; no posessions AT ALL, and to beg each day for food for that day’s meals
View one is the view of the “health and wealth” movement, very common in America, but also amongst certain Pentecostals in this country and the third world. The actual quote “It’s a sin to be poor” comes from Randy Gage, the so-called Millionaire Messiah.
View two was the view of the extreme Spiritual Franciscans. A true Christian, truly signed up for God would own nothing at all. That house of yours, that car, anything more than a single set of clothes, that food in the freezer, that money in the bank account, that pension that you’ll get when you retire. If you were truly signed up for Jesus, a Gospel Christian, an evangelical Christian, you would not have any of those.
Why might it be a sin to be poor?
If we are poor, are we a burden on other people? The homeless druggy on the streets gets a decent meal at night because of the donations of hard working people who are having been slaving away for long hours in the office. Is it right for him to sponge off them while they work.
If we are poor, do we fail to live up to our responsibilities? A man can father 9 different children by 8 different women, knowing that so long as he stays out of work, he’ll never have to pay a penny to support them. The state, ie tax payers, ie people who work responsibly, will pay for his mess. Look at what Jesus says about not providing for those we are responsible for in Mark 7:10-12
if we are poor, can we properly help other people? Bill Gates has given $30 billion dollars to charity. Could he have done that if he were not rich?
God promises to bless us - so does lack of money mean lack of God’s blessing mean God doesn’t approve of us?
Or is having money a sin?