Summary: A message for the wicked rich and the reasoning behind it. 1- Their wealth is rotten 2- Their luxury is indulgent
INTRO.- Rich folks. How rich is rich? According to Forbes’ richest list, 72 year old Carlos Slim Helu and family from Mexico are the richest people in the world at $69 Billion, which he made from a company called Telecom. CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates is still number two and very rich with $61 Billion. 81 year old Warren Buffet is third at $44. He’s a self-made billionaire, but he’s lost some money this last year. Poor guy!
Rich folks. They may be like the good witch and the wicked witch. There are good rich people and there are wicked rich people. But who’s who? Which is which?
Carlos Slim Helu. Is he a wicked rich person? I don’t think so. Slim was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1940 to Maronite Christian parents. I think he considers himself to be a Christian, that is, a Maronite Christian. What’s that? Maronites are part of the Catholic Church. It traces its heritage back to the community founded by Maron, a 4th-century Syriac monk venerated as a saint. If he truly believes in Jesus as the Son of God then he’s not a bad guy!
What about Bill Gates? I have read that Bill was raised as a Congregationalist but now is more of an agnostic. Gates is quoted as saying: “In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don’t know if there’s a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.”
I don’t think Warren Buffett is a bad guy, but I don’t think he’s a Christian guy either. In December 2006 it was reported that Buffett does not carry a cell phone, does not have a computer at his desk, and drives his own automobile, which is a Cadillac DTS. Buffett is an avid player of bridge, which he plays with fellow fan Gates. He spends 12 hours a week playing the game. But his religion is nothing. Buffett was raised Presbyterian but has since described himself as agnostic. If he went from Presbyterian to agnostic, what happened? Here is what I think happened. I think his problem is like that of many: it’s the love of money that has led him to where he is today; a non-believer.
If Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are not exactly what we might call the “wicked” rich then who is? Who might the wicked rich be?
Egypt's former 84 year old ruler Hosni Mubarak. On 13 April, 2011, a prosecutor ordered Mubarak and both his sons to be detained for 15 days of questioning about allegations of corruption and abuse of power. He was then ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors during the revolution.
Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that Mubarak and his family might be worth up to $70 billion due to corruption and kickbacks.
Muammar Gaddafi could be another wicked rich person. He was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977. On one occasion, he was reported to have said that the Christian Bible was a "forgery."
During the Reagan administration, the United States regarded him as "public enemy number one" and Reagan dubbed him the "mad dog of the Middle East". Among those who worked with Gaddafi, Anwar Sadat called him "unbalanced and immature" and "a vicious criminal."
One article entitled, “The dictator's dough: Astonishing wealth of Gaddafi and his family revealed.” The U.S. alone has seized $30 billion of their investments.
The wicked rich. Being materially rich is not necessarily bad or evil. It’s how a person gets their riches and what they do with them that may make them evil.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus is saying that if we treasure our treasures here on earth and do nothing good with them in this life then we will have no treasure in heaven. This doesn’t mean that you have spend every dime you make to feed the poor and needy, but it does mean we must not hoard for ourselves what God gives to us. We are to share it with others. In that way, we’ll lay up treasures in heaven.
I Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Obviously, if a person loves money too much it can cause all kinds trouble or evil in a person’s life. As we all know, many people have been led to do all kinds of bad or evil things just for the sake of money: stealing, murder, dealing drugs, etc. And some people even find themselves involved in lesser evil things, which are still not good. It may cause them wander away from the faith; leave the church or perhaps even turn away from Christ because money becomes the object of their affection. Money becomes their god!