“I don’t look at my pension…it’s not as big as yours.” – President Obama
I enjoy debates, but that comment last night irks me on many levels. We are in big trouble as a nation when we attach significance, worth, and sense of superiority to being either rich or poor.
The Prosperity Gospel (God wants you to give you more wealth than others have) is venom spit from the mouth of the snake. But so is Liberation Theology (God wants us to redistribute wealth so that everyone has an equal amount).
God speaks directly against a variety of issues in the Bible. Oppression. Theft. Not caring for the poor, widows, and sojourners. Withholding what is owed. Exploiting the easily exploited. And others.
But, God does not condemn people for having more wealth than other people. In fact, many of the people in the Scriptures who displayed exemplary faith in God were wealthy. Abraham. Job. David. Hezekiah. Joseph of Arimathea. Lydia. Philemon. And others.
The issue isn’t how much wealth a person has; it’s what they do with it. What matters is a person’s heart toward God and those in need. Abraham, Job, and David were not chastened by God for being wealthy BECAUSE they loved God and treated people with justice, mercy, and charity.
Likewise, being poor doesn’t make someone more righteous, worthy, moral, or significant to God either. If being rich causes pride and disregard for God and our neighbors, it’s wicked. But being poor can cause a similar pride and disregard, making it equally wicked.