Money and Power

Listing of questions (click to jump to that question)

1. Is there something wrong with making money? Why are there Christians who think wealthy Christians are ungodly while others think poor Christians don't have faith?
2. Are there occupations inherently incompatible with the Christian faith?
3. How much of my career should I sacrifice for the sake of following Christ?
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1. Is there something wrong with making money?  Why are there Christians who think wealthy Christians are ungodly while others think poor Christians don't have faith?

Making money is a necessity for living, so this process cannot be judged as "wrong" in itself.  What's wrong comes from our motive in making money, how the money is made, what we give up in the process, and what we become as a result.  If our desire in making money is to get power and recognition, then it's not really pleasing in God's eyes.  If we make money at the unreasonable expense of others or illegally, then it's not honorable.  If we ignore our basic responsibilities to our family and our obligations to God because we are too busy with making money, then we are not getting our priorities right. If we become overly possessive about our money or even being controlled by money, then we have been conquered what is supposed to be our tool and property.  The two perspectives about Christians supposed to be rich or poor are both extremist views.  God blesses us in our financial conditions so we can live and do His will.  He does not want us to worry about basic living nor what to do with our wealth.

Interestingly, money is the only true human creation.  It represents value when there's almost no intrinsic value in the paper.  One economist admitted that we really know very little of how money works.  It's a beast that got loose after we created it.

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2. Are there occupations inherently incompatible with the Christian faith?

Any occupation that hinders the work of God (e.g., a policeman in a communist country in charge of finding and persecuting Christians), intentionally harms others (e.g., a drug dealer), or intentionally violates the principles of God (e.g., a creator of false propaganda) are obviously incompatible.  As for the "grayish" occupations (e.g., lawyers), there are always room for flexibility and one must choose to faithfully follow God or not.  Some friends of mine gave up their career in law because they see it as incompatible with their faith, but I'm certain there are honest lawyers out there serving the society in a constructive manner (Moses is one example).  For some really perverse people, even a "good" occupation such as medical doctor can become a despicable practice.

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3. How much of my career should I sacrifice for the sake of following Christ?

This question is based on a wrong premise: your career is being sacrificed for the sake of God.  It should be reversed: your serving God is being sacrificed for your need to make your ends meet.  We live to follow God, to learn about His wonderful grace, to experience humanity so we can appreciate eternal life, and to tell others about our eternal hope.  We should see our career as a necessary part of our lives but not our primary concern.  God should be the most important concern in your life.

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Last updated: 2/7/2000