I was speaking at a conference in Deland, Florida and earlier in my talk had made the point that the primary purpose of business in Creation and the Kingdom is to generate wealth. I began to notice a young woman in the audience whose facial expressions were moving from concerned to deep consternation. Finally, I stopped, looked at her and asked, “What is troubling you?” Her response was classic, “Well, I don’t believe that God wants me wealthy.”
So many Christians have a deep seated aversion to wealth or a justified fear of the “health and wealth” prosperity preachers that to even bring up the subject is to invite confusion. I was happy to clarify my point for the lady in Deland–”I did not say God wants you wealthy. I said ‘business is an engine of wealth creation.’” It is God’s chosen means of providing our daily bread (on a micro scale) and of providing for the needs of society (on a macro scale).
Imagine a society without wealth. How does the community educate the children? Who builds roads? Where does funding for science or innovation or healthcare or technology or any number of other things come from? Wealth is absolutely and fundamentally necessary for any society to exist in a healthy manner.
And where does wealth come from? Business! It doesn’t come from government–although government may be the means of distributing and using part of societal wealth for the common good. It doesn’t come immediately from God–although He certainly is the source of all wealth. It comes through enterprise. Through entrepreneurship. Through the creation of goods and services and the exchange of those goods and services. It comes from discovering needs and meeting needs for profit.
Does God want you wealthy? I have no idea. He establishes our relative position in society based on His sovereign grace and infinite wisdom. However, keep in mind that, no matter how frugally you live, in the US you are wealthier than 99% of the people in the world so, in a sense, you are wealthy whether you like it or not.
Does God want you poor? Again, I have no idea. What God chooses for you is between you and Him. I want no more than He intends and no less. I don’t want to have so much that I become arrogant and forget God, and I don’t want so little that I end up stealing to feed my family.
The real point is not whether I am relatively rich or destitute. The issue is the purpose of business. The purpose of business is to create wealth and to distribute that wealth in the form of employment and, to a lesser degree, taxes. No business means no wealth. No wealth means no healthy society. Having seen the ravages of the wealth destroying, corrupt Soviet system first hand, I can assure you that you don’t want to live in a society that is anti-business and thus, anti-societal wealth.
Christians need to rethink the issue of wealth from a sociological perspective. Only then can we began to think through wealth from a personal perspective.