“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
Day after day newscasters from all sides of the political spectrum inform us of more signs of economic doom. Each side blames the other for the fate of their country’s ill economy and present what they consider would be the best scenario leading to a healthy financial recovery and stabilization. Political ethics of countries on the other side of the world are also to be blamed for one’s own economic woes. It is always so easy to blame failure and bankruptcy on others. It also sadly happens in domestic matters where in marriages one spouse blames the other for the family’s bankruptcy.
Whereas the world’s financial woes are complex, a thorough reading through the financial ethics of the Bible should show us where the crux of the problem is. Whereas most religious organization Jewish and Christian content themselves with a minimum ten percent tithe, after thoroughly studying the work ethics, workers comps, and tithing system in the Torah, we can safely conclude that between jubilee observances and tithing in every way he is required and suggested to, a man would never be rich, wealth would be shared more equally, and the poor would be cared for and rehabilitated. It is not what we give that the Father looks at, but what we’ve got left after we are finished giving. A Jewish sage even concluded that the tithing system was a protection against the moral corruption that comes through the hoarding of unnecessary wealth. Excess is best invested when wisely shared.
From this we can easily conclude that the biblical financial system is not based on capitalism but on sharing. The verses which seem to speak of prosperity as a reward for obedience really speak of prosperity according to the currency of the Kingdom of God which is virtue, not cash. The Bible does encourage the owning of private property (Micah 4:4), preparing for the future (Genesis 41), the wise handling of money (Luke 16:1-11), but it discourages the unnecessary selfish hoarding of wealth (Luke 12:15-21). It is to test our hearts that the great Father has allowed that some would be rich and able and others to be poor and insufficient (Proverbs 22:2).
‘Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)’ speaks of spiritual wealth and poverty, but if we are to pattern our physical lives according to spiritual truths, it is a good model of a proper use of physical wealth.