Wealth and Materialism


Why is it wrong to judge a person by his or her economic status? Wealth may indicate intelligence, wise decisions, and hard work. On the other hand, it may mean that only a person had the good fortune of being born into a wealthy family. Or it can even be the sign of greed, dishonesty, and selfishness.

By honoring someone just because he or she dresses well, we are making appearance more important than character. Sometimes we do this because: 1) Poverty makes us uncomfortable; we don’t want to face our responsibilities to those who have less than we do; 2) we want to be wealthy too, and we hope to use the rich person as a means to that end; 3) we want the rich person to join our church and help support it financially, or become our friend on our social networking sites just to make us look more important.

All these motives are selfish; they view neither the rich nor the poor person as human being in need of fellowship. If we say that Christ is our Lord, then we must live as he requires, showing no favoritism and loving all people regardless of whether they are rich or poor.

We are often partial to the rich because we mistakenly assume that riches are a sign of God‘s blessing and approval. But God does not promise us earthly rewards or riches; in fact, Christ calls us to be ready to suffer for him and give up everything in order to hold on to eternal life. We will have untold riches in eternity if we are faithful in our present life.

In the book of James, he spoke about the poor. He talked about those who have no money and also about those whose simple values are despised by much of our affluent society. Perhaps the “poor” people prefer serving to managing, human relationships to financial security, peace to power. This does not mean that the poor will automatically go to heaven and the rich to hell. Poor people, however, are usually more aware of their powerlessness. Thus it is often easier for them to acknowledge their need for salvation.

One of the greatest barriers to salvation for the rich is pride. For the poor, bitterness can often bar the way to acceptance of salvation. What say ye?

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