Proverbs 13:8 ESV
The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.
Being rich is dangerous. People are envious, and people are greedy. Some people will take the direct route to the wealth: kidnap-and-ransom, violent theft, or (if they’re particularly envious) murder-and-loot. Some take a more indirect route: fraud, cons, and government seizure. Regardless, people want to have that money, and they want to have all that money for themselves, not somebody else.
What is the great cause of the modern economist-politician? Let’s be honest, there are a lot of them, mostly nonsensical, but one of the biggest is ‘wealth inequality’. The argument this term crops up in generally runs thus: he has a lot more money than you. Therefore, he should give that money to you and those who, like you, don’t have as much. Now, this sounds well and good in the abstract, especially when you’re the guy getting the money, but ultimately, this is still theft; this is the same argument by which Lenin massacred the middle class. ‘They have more; you have less’ isn’t a moral statement unless that state was achieved through injustice; even then, injustice can only be remedied through justice.
Nevertheless, because people covet wealth (Exodus 20:17), the world will continually pursue those who have more. They may shield their motives from their own eyes and other’s under a veneer of concern for the poor, but in the end, human greed is the primary driver. It’s understandable. On average, we all would prefer to have two dollars instead of one, two bars of gold instead of one. The key is two-layered: the right ordering of affections and acting only within the rights and authorities granted by God.
The first half of this is desiring wealth as we ought to desire wealth. In Mark 10:23, Christ remarks upon the difficulty of the wealthy in reaching the kingdom of God. This is not, as some have asserted, a condemnation of wealth itself; God blessed Solomon with wealth, and God does not bless with evil (1 Kings 3:10-14). This passage regarding the rich young man is a condemnation of the sin of Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:15-27, the sin of valuing wealth over righteousness. The man who desires wealth more than God idolizes wealth. The Christian’s duty, therefore, is to value wealth as God tells him to value it, as a blessing to be thankful for but never to be relied upon (Matthew 6:19-21, 10:28).
The second half of this is acting according to the rights and authorities given by God to each of us, in our private, familial, ecclesiastical, and governmental functions. To each man God has given the right to do certain deeds; when a man acts beyond this right, he sins. Theft is the taking of that which one does not have the right to take. Murder is the taking of the human life which one does not have right to take. Rape is the enjoyment of pleasures which one does not have the right to take. Even if wealth is distributed in an unrighteous manner, even if it is gained via evil means, to try and redress this wrong via means which one does not have the right to employ would only exacerbate the situation. At the very least, it would be destructive to the character of the person who accomplished it.
All the wealth of the world, ultimately, is not worth considering in comparison to the riches of the grace of Christ (Romans 8:37-39). Like the riches of the world, these riches will often cost much, will cost even the Christian’s life (Matthew 5:11). Unlike the riches of the world, though, the riches of God’s grace are an assurance of life eternal, of a life beyond earthly suffering (Matthew 5:12). Further, the salvation which Christ sacrificed himself to attain is a salvation which leads to God and His glory, which brings Him glory and brings us in to a forever greater understanding of that glory. It is a salvation born of love ineffable, love beyond our comprehension, love which suffered inimitable torment for the sake of the beloved.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.