…Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through
His poverty might become rich (2 Cor 8:9)

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given (Prov 19:17)

There are over 300 verses on poverty in the bible and over 250 verses on prosperity. Christians sometimes clash uncharitably on which is the true biblical position: poverty or prosperity? Those who hold the “poor” view champion discipleship, sacrifice and the Lordship of Christ. Those who hold the “prosperous” view wax eloquent about giving, sowing and reaping and financial blessings. Who is right? The true biblical position, it seems to me, is a faith-filled balance between the two. On it’s own, neither ensures a safe harbor. Their rip tides will wash us out to extremism. We will land up equating either poverty or prosperity with godliness. Neither is true.

Take a look again at what the scriptures say. The tenor of the Bible is never against the rich just simply because they are wealthy. It is however strident in its warnings against the rich who ignore, abuse, bully or oppress the poor and who love money. To believe that it is God’s will for us to prosper is not unbiblical. Jesus became poor for our sakes that we might become “rich”. The Greek word “plusios” here means rich in material things although it includes prospering spiritually too as a second meaning.

But what will keep us from loving money? Our posture and action towards God and the poor make all the difference. Tithing reminds us all we have belongs to Him. It is He who gives us the power to gain wealth (Dt 8:18). Giving to the poor honours the Lord (Pr 14:31) and spiritually we lend to Him. God says He will repay us (Pr 19:17). A heart for the poor keeps us from worshipping bank notes. Then we are also to give generously, sacrificially and cheerfully too (2 Cor 9:6-7). In so doing, we are making ourselves purses in heaven that never wear out (Lk 12: 44). For it is in enriching the poor that paradoxically, we ourselves become rich! If today, you are in want claim 2 Cor 8:9 for yourself. Tithe. Give to the poor. Sow and prosper!  

Dr Philip Lyn

Young AdultsComment