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The Money Challenge: Too Much or Too Little?

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Monday

Savvy Article #0905

Arguments reigned whenever a certain pastor and his wife brought up the subject of wealth.  They were adamant that any Christian who was rich was materialistic.  We disagreed.

Mark and I maintained that rich is in the eye of the beholder.  Wealth is relative, and it depends on where you live what “rich” is.  To people starving in Africa, “poor” people in the US are rich. In many other countries, what we in the US think as “middle class” is considered wealthy.

This couple insisted, however, that their standards were the correct standards.  That they were not materialistic in any way.  They had old cars, they worked hard for every dime and just made their bills.  Mark and I bit our tongue when we thought about the fact they had digital cable and we had basic.

I think this hate-the-rich mentality is a worldly view and has gone far enough.  The Bible has a balanced and healing view of this rift between rich and poor—Proverbs 30:7-9(NASB). It says:

Two things I asked of Thee,

Do not refuse me before I die:

Keep deception and lies far from me,

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with the food that is my portion,

Lest I be full and deny Thee and say,

“Who is the Lord?”

Or lest I be in want and steal,

And profane the name of my God.

Wow!  That says a lot.  At first glance, it seems that Solomon is saying, “Make me middle class.” That may be a good characterization of it, but, remember, middle class is relative.  One person’s middle class is another’s poor or rich.

I think a deeper interpretation is this: give me what I can handle.  Make sure that the amount you give me, Lord, is what is best for me and our relationship.

When we put our relationship with God first, everything else means little. And what one person can handle in his/her life will be different than another.

Poor or rich or middle class—it doesn’t matter.  What is the depth of my relationship with God? This is the perfect antidote to materialism.  (And, BTW, I’ve seen many middle-class, United-States Christians who I thought of as materialistic.)

I’ve decided to pray the above verse as a prayer for myself.  I am not expecting to get rich, but I am expecting to get balanced.

About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.


2 Responses to “The Money Challenge: Too Much or Too Little?”

  1. Joanna says:

    I like that – Lord, please make me balanced. I wonder if they thought of Solomon as “materialistic”?

  2. I also wondered as I was writing this piece how much nerve Solomon had wrtiting that we should not have too much or to little. He was the poster child of excess if you look at it externally. Then I wondered if he, too, thought of rich and poor as relative. I don’t know. It still makes me ponder …

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