Table of Contents
- Introduction. 2
- Methodology. 3
- Wealthy People in the Bible. 3
- Abraham.. 3
- Findings About Abraham.. 4
- What did Abraham do to become wealthy? 4
- Isaac. 4
- What did Isaac do to become wealthy? 5
- Jacob. 5
- What did Jacob do to become wealthy? 5
- Job. 5
- What did Job do to become wealthy? 6
- Zacchaeus. 6
- What did Zacchaeus do to become wealthy? 6
- Esau. 6
- What did Esau do to become wealthy? 6
- David. 6
- Solomon. 7
- Joseph. 7
- Jehoshaphat 8
- Joseph of Arimathaea. 8
- Joseph called Barnabas. 9
- Dorcas (Tabitha) 9
- Cornelius. 9
- The Rich Ruler 10
- The Hebrews Entering the Promised Land. 10
- Boaz. 11
- Ahab. 11
- Nabal 11
- King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) 12
- Herod. 12
- Lessons Learned. 13
- Modern Wealthy People. 13
- Naveen Jain. 13
- Michael Birch. 14
- Dmitry Itskov. 14
- Many Other Millionaires. 14
- Wealthy Christians. 14
- Lesson Learned. 16
- Some Scriptures About Money. 16
- Get Rich Quick. 17
- The Lottery. 18
- The Casino. 18
- Raffling. 18
- Should We be Wealthy? 19
- Giving and Wealth. 20
- The Testimonies. 21
- How is Wealth Obtained? 21
- Wrap UP. 22
There are many Christian-based teachings about prosperity, wealth, God’s provisions, etc. I thought it expedient that I investigate what the bible really reveals about this topic. Does God want us all to be rich? Is there evidence that God has provided a way for Christians to be wealthy? Is the hundred-fold principle where God will give us up to 100 times what we gave, real?
There are a plethora of teachings where it is said that we are blessed by God when we give to the local church, especially the tithe. Is there some kind of spiritual law that rewards us for giving to local churches, ministries, and the like? What I discovered about this topic was simply amazing and liberating at the same time. I encourage you to read my study, Tithing, Giving, Sowing, and Reaping at www.pursuingthetruth.org/tithing-giving-sowing-reaping. I also encourage you to read an article of mine on 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 at www.pursuingthetruth.org/godly-giving.
This study is about wealth, provision, and financial blessings from a biblical perspective. Does God want us wealthy? How do we acquire the provisions of God for our normal needs and desires? How can we obtain financial blessings from God or are we on our own with that? This study was written to answer these questions and to shed light on the topic in general.
I would like to say that this study is complete objective, but such would and perhaps could not be the case. I have experiences with regards to finances and the provisions of God. I have sometimes wondered why things happen the way they did when what I heard from ministers is that things should have happened very differently. However, when reading the Bible with an awareness of presuppositions and an attempt to read pragmatically, I saw a different picture of life emerge. Perhaps God hasn’t done what we expected because He never said that he would do certain things. Examining the lives of biblical characters, I did not see a magical life. They had the same struggles we have, but with faith and hope in God, they were able to overcome.
Sometimes, success doesn’t look the way we want it to look or the way we were told it should look (consider Joseph). Sometimes, we have to go through hardships or hard work to acquire the great things that God has for us. This study hopes to shed some light on the place of finances in our lives and how God is involved in it.
A major portion of this study examines the wealthy people in the bible, both godly and ungodly, good or bad, etc. How did people become wealthy in biblical times? Did they use a spiritual law given to them by God? Did God do something special for them that is out of reach for us? After examining these people’s lives as revealed to us in Scripture, I hope that we will see the reality of our finances in a relationship with God’s way for us and His interaction with people in general. The goal of examining these people is to see how they became rich and to uncover any spiritual law or principle that we can also use to become prosperous/wealthy.
We are also going to look at many scriptures in the bible about money and wealth. Are there any secrets to success revealed in them? We will see. From these scriptures and the examination of wealthy people, we will determine how financial blessings were obtained in the Old and New Testaments respectively.
I don’t think that we can talk about financial blessings or wealth from a biblical perspective without discussing tithing. Tithing is a very big issue in the Christian community. I have a detailed study on the topic as mentioned above. However, we will briefly discuss it in this study, because of how impacting it is in our lives and money.
We will then compile what we have learned from the above analysis and come to a conclusion about wealth, provision, and financial blessings.
Let us first evaluate some of the wealthy people presented to us in the bible. How did they become wealthy? What did they do so that they became wealthy? What part did God play in them obtaining their wealth?
- Original name was Abram (Genesis 11:27)
- He lived in Ur of the Chaldeans (a pagan culture)
- Abram’s father was named after the moon deity worshiped in Ur.
- Terah took Lot (whose father, Haran had died), Abram, and Sarai (Abram’s wife) from Ur to go to Canaan. However, they settled in the city of Haran (Genesis 11:31)
- Abram left Haran with Sarai, his nephew, Lot, along with all the people he accumulated and his possessions they accumulated while in Haran. He set out to go to the land of Canaan.
- Abraham received an abundance from Abimelech king of Gerar after the incidence with Sarah (Genesis 20:14-16). Abraham told everyone that Sarah was his sister. However, Sarah was his half-sister. She was the daughter of Terah, but from a different mother than Abraham.
- Abraham had a military force (318 trained men – Genesis 14:14) as well showing that he was prosperous (Genesis 14:13)
- Abraham gave Melchizedek, king of Salem, a 10th of the spoils of war after defeating the king of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him (Genesis 14:17). Abraham took none of the spoils for himself.
- Note it is not stated that Abraham gave a 10th of what was his before or after this war.
- God chose Abraham to be the “Father of a multitude”. This had nothing to do with what Abraham did especially since he was called by God while a pagan.
- God also promised to bless Abraham when he did not withhold Isaac from being sacrificed to God (Genesis 22:5-19).
- Abraham was blessed with abundance (Genesis 24:35, 13:2-6)
- God called and blessed Abraham (Isaiah 51:2)
Abraham grew up in a pagan society and was approached by God. It wasn’t unusual that Abraham responded to God because, though in a pagan society, he would have been familiar with there being a god. The bible doesn’t say what Abraham’s disposition was prior to being approached, but God, however, we do see that he accepted God without any apparent doubt.
Abraham received his wealth probably the same way anyone else would have received wealth. Perhaps God prospered him, but the Bible gives no indication that Abraham’s wealth was because of something that he did besides what would have been normal at that time. We saw the Lot, Abraham’s nephew also prospered.
Though God promised to bless Abraham because of his faith when about to sacrifice Isaac, he was already wealthy. That blessing seems to be other than money or wealth.
Given Abraham’s interaction and acceptance of God, it wasn’t unusual that he would have honored God via Melchizedek. Abraham gave Melchizedek one-tenth of the spoils of war after rescuing Lot and his family.
The prosperity and wealth of Abraham were not based on anything special that he did. His prosperity was gotten the way any man in his culture would have experienced. The thing with Abraham was that he accepted and trusted God in ways that exceeded expectations given his condition when God made the promise of him having a child.
We must also consider the blessing that was upon Abraham from God’s promise to him. God promised Abraham that he would have a son and that he would be the father of many nations.
- Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah.
- His name means “he laughs” or “he laughed”
- God promised to bless Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5)
- Isaac was very wealthy (Genesis 26:12-16). He planted crops and received a hundred times what was planted. He grew in flocks, herds, and many servants. He was so rich that the Philistines envied him.
- God appeared to Isaac and introduced himself. God told Isaac that he would bless him and multiply his offspring for Abraham’s sake.
- Abimelech and his advisor, Ahuzzath went to visit Isaac. They recognized that Isaac was blessed of the Lord (Genesis 26:26-28). They saw Isaac’s prosperity as coming from God.
The bible does not give a reason for why God blessed Isaac abundantly the way he did, except for Abraham’s sake, namely to fulfill the promise that God made to Abraham. At the very least we can say that God blessed Isaac for His own purposes.
- Genesis 30:27-43
- Jacob was blessed by God and because of that, Laban was blessed as well
- Jacob was rich because God blessed him
We do know from scripture that Jacob was deceitful (Genesis 25:29-34, 27:1-46). The birthright and blessing from his Father, Isaac, were obtained by cheating his brother Esau (though Esau treated his birthright with some contempt in that he traded it for a meal). We could speculate that the prosperity that Jacob enjoyed was supposed to have been for Esau. However, as we will see shortly, Esau also was blessed in that he had an abundance of possessions as well.
Jacob was also shrewd as we see in his dealings with his uncle, Laban. His shrewdness was seen in him acquiring an abundance of off-colored sheep and goat with what could be called prenatal influence. After about 20 years, Jacob had acquired so many sheep and goat that Laban and his sons were offended by Jacob. Laban had previously realized that he was gaining in prosperity because of Jacob. God seemed to be blessing Jacob and Laban was a benefactor since Jacob was living with him and working for him. However, God’s blessing on Jacob was evident again as it wasn’t by prenatal influence that Jacob got the colored goats and sheep that he wanted, but rather, basic genetic principles of inheritance that occurred. Though Laban tried to trick Jacob and make it almost impossible to succeed, he didn’t realize that a solid color sheep or goat could produce a spotted or off-color offspring due to recessive genes. This was discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century.
So again, Jacob was blessed, but now he owns the object of the blessing. Jacob was rich with livestock. It seems clear that God’s blessing was on Jacob to prosper in what he did. I should also note that God’s blessing was unconditional it appears. We saw that Jacob was deceitful, but yet he still prospered. This is good news for us when we attempt to disqualify ourselves from God’s blessing because we think we are undeserving of God’s blessings. God blesses us for his purposes, not ours.
- See Job 1:1-3
- Job was blameless, upright, and feared God.
- Job turned away from evil
- He had seven sons
- He had 7000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants.
- Job was very rich
- Job ended up with twice as much after his ordeal was complete.
The bible doesn’t say what Job did specifically to become wealthy. The Bible does make a point to establish the righteousness of Job. He was blameless, upright, and feared God. Perhaps because of those, he walked in the blessings of God. We also note that Job did not curse God or accuse him falsely. He even withstood the temptation of his wife (sometimes the people closest to you is your most significant challenge and of little help).
- Zacchaeus was a rich chief tax collector (Luke 19:1-10)
- Tax collectors were known to be crooked and to extort money from people.
- He later promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to give back four times what he defrauded from people.
- Zacchaeus must have invested his money very effectively or else had other forms of income in order to give half of his possessions away and give four times back what he stole from people
- Zacchaeus started off earning money immorally, but in the end, he used his money for good.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector and most likely extorted money from people. Tax collectors were looked down upon by the Jews. They were categorized as sinners. He probably obtained his riches to some part through deceit and theft, but also through investing to gain more.
- Esau had great possessions (Genesis 36:6-7).
- Esau was blessed by God even though he did not receive his father’s, Isaac’s, blessing as the firstborn. See Genesis 33:9 and 36:6-7.
The bible doesn’t say what Esau did specifically to become wealthy. The bible says that Esau acquired his possessions in Canaan (Genesis 36:6. It doesn’t say how he acquired his possessions. We do have some clues from Genesis 25:27 where it says that Esau was a skilled hunter and a man of the field. Esau was an outdoorsman.
- 1 Chronicles 29:28
- David was full of riches and honor
- David fought Goliath in part to obtain great riches, King Saul’s daughter in marriage, and tax exemption. These were the financial rewards for defeating Goliath that David took advantage of ( 1 Samuel 17:25-32)
- David also knew that God was with him so he was not afraid to take on Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
- The above does not preclude the fact that David had faith in God. David was most likely very confident that he could defeat Goliath and he wanted to know what he would get for it.
What did David do to become rich?
It goes without saying that God was with David. David was specifically chosen by God to be King of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-9). David was rich in part because he was King, but he was King because God chose him and therefore, blessed him. It is also apparent that David held God in high esteem if we consider the Psalms. David was a blessed man and that blessing carried over to his finances, especially since he was King.
- Solomon inherits the wealth of his father upon becoming king of
- Solomon is blessed by God with great wealth because he asked God for wisdom to lead his people
- A point to consider. Solomon was already wealthy after becoming king because he inherited from King David. Therefore, it seems reasonable that he would not have asked God to make him rich when God queried Solomon as to what he could do for him (2 Chronicles 1:7).
- Solomon became so wealthy that silver and gold became as common as stones in Jerusalem. See 2 Chronicles 1:14-17.
- There was great prosperity during Solomon’s reign.
- Solomon built the Temple at Jerusalem for worship. This took many resources and was a massive project.
- Solomon built other buildings and cities.
- Solomon was the first Israelite king to trade abroad profitably.
What did Solomon do to become wealthy?
Solomon loved the Lord and he demonstrated a keen sense of responsibility and God rewarded him for that. God had asked Solomon what he would like for Him to do for him and Solomon asked for wisdom to lead the people. See 1 Kings 3:1-15. God said that he would grant that request and make him rich. He said that he would also give him long life if he kept God’s commandments.
Solomon was king so that would have made him relatively wealthy. However, because of God’s blessings, Solomon was made rich like no other. God gave Solomon riches because Solomon wanted to be able to effect justice for his people. Solomon knew that he was not experienced in executing justice so he asked God for a discerning heart. So we could also say that the pursuit of justice was a big part in God making him very rich.
This situation suggests that God does not have a problem with people being rich I suppose if the heart of the person is appropriate. It was God’s idea to make Solomon rich.
- Genesis 41 - 50
- Initially sold into slavery by his brothers
- Became 2nd in command to Pharaoh in Egypt
- Joseph was given many comforts, including servants and a wife.
- Egypt prospered greatly because of what Joseph did for Pharaoh. He interpreted his dream. God was telling him that there would be seven years of prosperity and then seven years of famine. Because Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh was able to prepare for the famine. People came from all over to purchase grain and food during the famine.
- God gave Joseph success in everything he did because he was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2)
What did Joseph do to become wealthy?
Joseph wealth was not gotten by something special that he did. This was a matter of circumstance and trust in God guided by God’s providence. Joseph’s wealth came as a result of his integrity during his very bad situations and God’s blessing on his life. Joseph’s wealth resulted in a multitude of people being saved during a famine, including his own family. Joseph had great success and wealth because God was with him.
- King of Judah
- Succeeded his father, Asa
- He was a godly king as was his father, Asa
- Jehoshaphat had faith in God and had God involved in normal activities and decisions – 2 Chronicles 17:6).
- He went against the idolatry that was so prevalent around him. He tore down objects of pagan worship (2 Chronicles 17:6-9). He developed programs to educate the people about God.
- He depended on God in times of trouble (See 2 Chronicles 20:6-12)
- He showed a high regard for justice (2 Chronicles 19L4-11). Justice is a common theme with regards to what is important to God.
- Jehoshaphat became rich as King as people brought him tribute. He had an abundance.
What did Jehoshaphat do to obtain his wealth?
Jehoshaphat was a godly king and that seemed to have contributed to him being blessed by God. He opposed those things that were contrary to God’s way, e.g., idolatry, and he developed programs for people to learn about God. God was a normal part of Jehoshaphat’s live and rule.
- A rich disciple of Christ. He was a secret disciple because he was afraid of the Jews (John 19:38)
- His tomb was used to put Jesus’ body in after he was crucified.
- He was a respected member of the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43)
- Joseph was a good and righteous man. He did not agree with the decision to crucify Jesus (Luke 23:50-51)
What did Joseph of Arimathaea do to obtain wealth?
The bible doesn’t say how Joseph of Arimathaea became rich. However, since the bible does say that he became a disciple of Christ, I believe it is safe to conclude that he was rich before becoming a disciple of Christ. This means that he would have made his riches in the same manner that anyone else would have made a fortune (good or bad). However, he was a good and righteous man before becoming a disciple of Christ. Therefore, this suggests that perhaps he was successful because God’s blessing was in his life. It is also possible that God had ordained him to be the provider of the tomb that Jesus would use after being crucified.
- Sold a field that he owned to give to the apostles to distribute to those who lacked.
- He was a Levite
- He was from Cyprus by birth
- It was Barnabas who vouched for Paul to the church at Jerusalem. The church originally didn’t trust Paul because of his previous activities of persecuting the church. However, Barnabas investigated Paul and found that Paul was genuine in his faith and was not trying to trick the church in order to persecute it. Barnabas gave Paul a second chance with the Jerusalem church.
- Barnabas was also instrumental in giving Mark a second chance.
How Did Joseph, called Barnabas acquire his wealth?
The bible doesn’t say that he was rich. We only know that he had land that he sold to help provide for those in need. The apostles called him Barnabas, i.e., Son of Encouragement, which implies that he was encouraging.
We see that Barnabas took something that he had to use to provide for others.
- She was a disciple of Christ
- She was always doing good works and acts of charity
- She made robes and other clothing
- She was loved given the mourning for her death and they sent for Peter
How did Tabitha obtain wealth?
The Bible gives little background about her and therefore it is not known how she obtained her wealth if she was wealthy. We only know that she was a disciple of Christ who did good works. Perhaps she sold the robes and clothing that she made, which provided a way for her to help the poor.
- Cornelius was a Roman centurion and the first gentile Christian convert recorded in the bible.
- He was known for his charitable deeds and love for God.
- He was a devout man who feared God along with his household
- He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people
- He always prayed to God.
- It appears that Cornelius was wealthy because he had slaves and soldiers with him, whom he sent to get Peter.
How did Cornelius obtain wealth?
The bible doesn’t say specifically that he was wealthy. However, the rank of Centurion came with a high pay. Perhaps Cornelius was at least well off so to speak. We also note again that he was known for giving to the poor and that his wealth (however wealthy he really was) came primarily because of his pay as a centurion.
One thing to note is that Cornelius was a pious (godly, religious) man and he feared God even though he was a gentile. We also note that God heard his prayers and that his charitable deeds meant something to God.
We know nothing about this person except that he was rich. However, there are some points that I would like to bring up that could perhaps shed some light on this person.
- He wanted to have eternal life and came to Jesus to learn how to obtain it
- He followed the commandment that Jesus presented to him
- It appears that he was not given to charitable deeds like others we have evaluated thus far. Therefore, he did not have treasure in heaven.
- He had lots of possessions and seemed reluctant to give any of them up
How did the rich ruler obtain wealth?
The bible does not say how this person became rich, only that he was. He was a ruler so perhaps his riches had something to do with that.
A subtle point here is that merely following the commandments is not sufficient to enter eternal life. Something else had to take place, which is the heart had to be changed. The rich ruler kept the commandments but lacked something crucial for entering eternal life. He didn’t seem to share his wealth with others. The bible does not say that he was given to charitable deeds so his riches were probably consumed on himself. Jesus was trying to get him to change his heart and loose himself from that which bound him and kept him from entering the Kingdom of God.
Another point to consider is that if the rich ruler didn’t sell his possessions and give to the poor and become a disciple of Christ, then he would not enter eternal life.
Here was a man who was rich and able to help many. However, it appears that he didn’t do that since Jesus revealed that he had no treasure in heaven. His riches were worldly.
They would receive beautiful houses to live in, large herds and flocks, silver and gold, and all other increases. They were to remember that it wasn’t by their power that they received this wealth. It was by the power of God that they obtained their wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
These people obtained their wealth because of what God did. He gave them the power to obtain wealth. It was nothing that they did to earn or deserve it. God was faithful to his covenant He swore to their forefathers (See Genesis 22:15-18).
Here we see again that the people would obtain wealth because of the blessings of God and not merely because of their wisdom or even hard work.
Ruth Chapters 2 and 4
Boaz was a wealthy landowner of Bethlehem in Judea and prominent man. The bible doesn’t reveal how he obtained his wealth. We can only assume that it was honorable (since Boaz was an honorable man) and that it was a normal way one would become wealthy. The fact that he was a landowner suggests that his wealth may have been from his dealing in land. There is no indication that his wealth was because of something special he did that God rewarded him for.
How did Boaz obtain his wealth?
Given that God is omniscient, we can assume that God perhaps prepared Boaz to be a part of history leading to Jesus Christ. Boaz needed to be wealthy so that he would have fields to harvest, which led to the meeting of Ruth.
1 Kings 16:30
Ahab was the seventh king of Israel. The bible says of Ahab…
1 Kings 16:30–31 (ESV) — 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.
He was wealthy because he was king. Given that he was evil, it is very likely that some of his wealth was gotten by nefarious means.
What did Ahab do to obtain his wealth
Ahab most likely obtained his wife through the channel of being king—an evil king.
1 Samuel 25
Nabal was a wealthy businessman (sheep master). He was also very unreasonable and harsh in his dealings. The Bible says several times that he was a stupid man. His wife, on the other hand, was wise, and beautiful.
Nabal most likely obtained his wealth through his business and not because he did something special that God rewarded him for. On the contrary, it was his stupidity that he was judged by God and died. David and his party asked him for food. This was while David was running from Saul. David sent his servants to Nabal. Nabal treated them harshly hollering at them and refusing to help David. David was very upset about this. David had protected Nabal’s herds and for that Nabal was evil towards him. David decided to kill everyone.
It was the quick thinking of Nabal’s wife, Abigail, that Nabal and his family was spared. Abigail took food to David and begged for forgiveness for her husband’s stupidity. David agreed. Killing Nabal and his family would have put a stain on David’s reputation as he would have taken matters into his own hands instead of allowing God to avenge him. David recognized that if it was not for Abigail’s actions, he would have sinned.
When Abigail told Nabal what happened on the next day, Nabal had a seizure and became paralyzed. He died 10 days later. He didn’t even realize the danger he had put his entire family in because of his stupidity.
King Xerxes was very wealthy. At one point, He held a feast for 180 days. Many now know of Xerxes because of the movie, 300, where his forces defeated the Spartans. He ruled 27 provinces from India to Cush. He was assassinated in about 465 B.C.
Of course, his wealth was not due to something that he did special, which God rewarded him for. His wealth came from the spoils of war as he conquered nations among other things.
What did Xerxes do to obtain his wealth?
Xerxes' wealth was mostly ascribed to the fact that he was born in royalty. His father, Darius I conquered many nations and Xerxes continued the process. He was wealthy because he was king.
There are three well known Herods referred to in the bible. There was Herod the Great who is known for killing the newborns two years old and younger in the Gospel of Matthew. Herod was the oldest son of Antipater of Idumea (Edomites). Antipater was installed as procurator of Judea by Julius Caesar in about 47 B.C. The eldest son of Antipater (Herod) was appointed as governor of Judea. Herod would have the epithet of Herod the Great.
Herod the Great's son, Herod Antipas, is known for being in power during the ministry of Jesus Christ and for receiving ridicule from John the Baptist. Herod the Tetrarch (Herod Philip II) is also known as the topic of John The Baptist's ridicule of Herod Antipas who had married Herod Philip II's wife.
The wealth of all of these was due to the fact that they had rule over the people in the Roman Empire. Herod had good capabilities as a ruler and had several building projects. Herod experienced great wealth because of his rule. This wealth was surely not because of something that he did for which God rewarded him for.
Herod was a very harsh and evil ruler. He would kill anyone who threatened his throne, including his wife and sons. He was not a godly many who obtained wealth as a blessing.
What did the Herods do to obtain his wealth?
They were rulers in Judea and the surrounding areas according to the division of the Romans. Though Herod the Great had many grand building projects, including the rebuilding of the Temple, it is not believed that he was somehow just or righteous and therefore somehow blessed by God. On the contrary. Herod the Great was ruthless, killing family members including his own wife.
None of the people that we examined above were wealthy because they tithed, gave an offering, or anything special at all. They were ordinary people who prospered as any other person would prosper. Some prospered as a direct result of God’s grace on them while others prospered by tyranny. The same applies today. Being wealthy is not necessarily an indication of a person’s righteousness. People are wealthy either because they inherited someone else’s wealth or they worked hard to obtain it (even if they cheated).
The Bible tells us that the blessings of the LORD bring wealth, and he adds no sorrow with that wealth (Proverbs 10:22). We see this in some of the people listed above. However, it is also important to note that the wealthy are not always experiencing the blessings of the LORD. Riches can be obtained in other ways, even unrighteous ways.
What we learn from this is that wealth is not something that magically happens because you tithed to a local church or supported the pastor. Wealth is obtained by hard work over time.
There are many very wealthy people even to this day and many are not Christian. The following is a summary of a YouTube video that I watched titled, “How I Became a Billionaire” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q9-1P1RHSM&t=510s). I have also viewed many other videos of wealthy people who revealed how they became successful. These include Will Smith, Steven Jobs, Mile Monroe, Warren Buffet, and Jack Ma to name a few.
The interesting thing about these wealthy people is that they all basically had the same principle about getting rich. Of course, there were differences in the specifics as they operated in different areas, e.g., science, entertainment, business, etc. What struck me was that these were consistent with what the Bible revealed regarding wealthy people.
Here is the summary of the video that I watched.
- Hard work is key to success
- Only take risks when you can win. He says that entrepreneurs do not like risk
- You have to be 100% into what you want
- If other people don’t think that what you are doing is crazy then you are not thinking big enough
- He wakes up early in the morning
- He exercises for the body
- He meditates for the soul
- Reads emails, news. Blogs, etc. to take care of his mind.
- Mind, body and soul should be all into what you are doing
- There is no substitute for hard work
- Give 100% of yourself in order to be at your best and then you can succeed
- Making money is a byproduct of doing things that you really enjoy doing. It is like sex and orgasm. You have to enjoy the journey, not the end else you will never get there.
- What makes a successful person? Solve problems.
- Big ideas result in big profits
- You have to have a relentless enthusiasm, excessive work ethic, and unquestionable self-belief
- Naveen’s sons seem to believe that solving problems for many people will make you many dollars. The more people the problem affects, and subsequently the solution, then the more money you will make.
- Previously worked as an insurance agent
- Was married and went about three years with no income
- He created a very popular social media company (Bebo ) that was bought by AOL for $850,000,000
- He isn’t trying to reach the stars like Naveen
- He isn’t trying to change the world
- He wants to be the Landlord of San Francisco’s greatest social network. This includes a “brick and mortar” facility with bars, hotels, etc.
- Michael (and Naveen) had a singleness of mind to pursue their dreams. They never gave up pursuing their dream.
- Wants to be able to live forever as a hologram
- Dreams of being able to upload the human consciousness in a robot, i.e., an avatar.
- He is a billionaire who made his money in the media business in Moscow
- He is funding his “live forever” project himself, though he is looking for other funding.
- He lives in a hotel room (He purchased a few floors of a hotel for this project)
Of course, there are many other millionaires who made their money by hard work over time. That is the underlying theme is about all the ones that I have come across. Some millionaires that worked hard to make their millions are Sylvester Stallone, the late Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg, Larry Page (Google), Sergin Brin (Google), Will Smith, and many more.
- Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
- Tried Many businesses and had failures
- He promised God that if the chicken business would succeed, that he would give God his part.
- Founder of CBN
- He says that his secret to success is that he spends time with the Lord every day
- Invented Duck Commander, TV Personality
Mary Kay Ash
- Founder Mary Kay Cosmetics
- She says that the company is successful because it helps women become the beautiful creatures that God created them to be.
David and Jason Behnam
- Benham Real Estate
- They decided to commit to pray to God for 2 weeks for God to give them a niche in their real estate business. About two weeks later a bank called them after going through the phone book. The bank wanted someone to sell foreclosed properties. This was their niche.
- Founder Hobby Lobby
- He says that some people hear from God as to what their calling is when they are very young. However, most people don’t know what their calling is. Therefore, whatever we do, we should do with all of our might. Not halfhearted.
- Christians should be the example of work ethic
- He says that his company is not a secular company, meaning without God. He incorporates prayer into his business.
- Believes in tithing and giving back
- Founder of Chick-fil-A
- Says that the bible tells us a lot about how to operate the business
- He decided to close on Sundays
- Founder Econet Wireless
- Don’t lose sight of the mission
- It’s about stewardship
- God didn’t say we can’t be rich with a nice car, home, etc.
- Holy Spirit revealed to him the way the world uses its resources. Decided to help churches and ministers who needed funding instead of spending millions on advertisements.
- CEO of United Artist Media Group
- Television Producer of some popular shows such as Shark Tank, The Apprentice, and The Voice.
- Believes that Christians don’t make enough noise
- Christians should talk more about God
- Chairman of Interstate Batteries
- He says that you have to learn the word of God
- The word of God is food
- Founder of Toms Shoes
- Looked forward to being able to give money away
- It’s never too early to start giving instead of waiting to do it later in life
- Founder of Tyler Perry Studios
- He says that his success is because of the grace of God
- He says to plant your seed in the ground and water it. That’s all that we can do. It is God who gives the increase.
- Founder of Famfa Oil
- Consult God before doing something
- It is God who supplies the slow and steady money that takes us to the next levels
- Too many people are content with sitting back doing nothing waiting for a miracle to get rich
The wealthy Christians attribute God to their success. However, hard work was also cited. God blesses what we do not what we don’t do.
A common attribute of those who made millions is hard work. Yes. There are some people who inherited their money, but someone before them either worked hard or came up with a great idea to make millions. Tenacity, perseverance, and hard work come up repeatedly when reviewing how people made their millions. They say that one should never give up.
Does this mean that God has nothing to do with whether we are wealthy or not? Not really. The Bible tells us that it is God who gives us the power to get rich (Deuteronomy 8:18). There may be some people that God predestines to be rich, but even they must do something. Wealth opens the doors to many opportunities to help people and even to make the world a better place. However, money (or the love of it) can cause all kinds of evils in the world (1 Timothy 6:10).
The following are scripture that has to do with money. We can learn a lot about money from the bible. One thing that sticks in my mind is Proverbs 23:4-5 where it admonishes us not to overwork to be rich. Wealth can fly away like an eagle. One of the things I noticed when examining modern wealth people is that they were not necessarily pursuing riches. They were instead pursuing their dreams and the byproduct of that was wealth.
- Matthew 6:24
You cannot serve God and money. You will only love God or money, not both. Consider 1 Timothy 6:10.
- James 5:1-6
Judgment on the dishonest rich person who has lived in luxury, but deprived those who earned wages from him.
- Luke 18:25
The rich have a kingdom that they typically operate it, which makes it difficult for them to enter the kingdom of God, which has completely different ways of doing things.
- Luke 12:33
Support the poor with your possessions and therefore store up treasures in heaven that cannot be destroyed.
- 1 Timothy 6:17
Those who are rich should not become conceited, nor trust in the riches, which are uncertain. Trust in God who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
- 1 Timothy 6:10
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil
- 1 Timothy 6:9
Those who are pursuing riches fall into many temptations and a trap along with foolish and hurtful lusts. These cause destruction and perdition.
- Matthew 6:19-21
Our treasures should not be merely earthly things such as money and possessions. We should look to have treasure in heaven, which will be secure. Helping others is how we can have treasure in heaven.
- Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV)
Money and wealth do not satisfy.
- Proverbs 13:11 (ESV)
Getting rich quick will not last long. However, those who obtain wealth slowly over time will increase even what he has.
- Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
Do not allow yourself to fall in love with money. Be content with what you have.
- Proverbs 11:28 (ESV)
- There is no strength in trusting in riches.
- Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV)
Honor God with our wealth
- Proverbs 23:4-5
Do not overwork to get rich. Riches tend to be elusive when you focus on it.
There are many systems available that promise wealth with little work. This is contrary to what we saw from the Bible and even from those who have obtained wealth today. Hard work and time is key.
There are many ways that we fall for the get rich quick mentality. We believe some of the people in network marketing that tells us that we can get rich quick doing their system. That is not true. Anything that accumulates wealth requires hard work and this is true even for network marketing. People believe the preachers that tell us if we tithe we will receive blessings from God or that we will receive a hundredfold return on what we give to the church. These also are not only not biblical, but they are also not true. Imagine if giving to the church would produce 100 times what you gave.
There are many preachers who deceive people into thinking that God will make them rich simply by tithing, giving, supporting a minister, or the like. The bible nor the lives of wealthy people support such claims. People are wealthy because someone worked hard. The only way one can get rich quick is if one inherits the wealth of someone else or wins a lottery worth millions.
Is playing the lottery a sin? The lottery is a specific type of gambling. Gambling itself is not necessarily a sin or even wrong. For example, consider the raffle tickets you’ve purchased in hopes of winning a prize. We many times play the lottery harmlessly just in case we win. After all, as it is said, you can’t win if you don’t play. The problem is when we begin to depend on winning the lottery as a panacea for our life issues.
Why do people play the lottery? They play the lottery in hopes of winning millions. They hope to get rich quick. They believe that hitting the lottery would eliminate all their worries and problems. However, there are many cases where people hit the lottery and were bankrupt after a few years. So hitting the lottery is not necessarily the answer.
Playing the lottery is the antithesis of what the Bible teaches us about money. The Bible teaches us to gain money by hard work over time. The lottery presents a false hope in getting rich instantly. What’s more, playing the lottery could become addictive. People can become obsessed with the thought of getting rich and that “this time” will be the winning ticket.
The problem with the lottery (or any such gambling) is that those who play it have put their trust in riches, which the Bible admonishes us not to do (Proverbs 11:28). Not only that, playing the lottery is totally based on chance, which is very slim. It is said that you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery.
Now let’s get something straight here and I know some of you have thought of this. Isn’t starting a business an act of chance? Isn’t pursuing your dreams a gamble. Those are an act of chance because we do not know the outcome. However, in those cases, unlike playing the lottery, we can do something about it. Successful people state that you never give up pursuing your goal. You can adjust your plans, adjust your activities, learn more, etc. However, there is absolutely nothing you can do regarding playing the lottery. You can only hope that your number comes up. So gambling by playing the lottery and gambling by starting a business for example, are very different things.
The casino is simply another opportunity to gamble. People basically hope to spend a little money playing the various machines and win much more. Again, the casino is simply a mirage of getting rich quick. Therefore, the casino, just like playing the lottery, is the antithesis of the biblical method of obtaining wealth.
The casino, as well as the lottery and all forms of such gambling, produces a false hope of obtaining riches quickly. The fact that it is possible to become addicted to these types of gambling is reason enough to avoid it.
What about purchasing a raffle ticket? Well, at its core, it is gambling. You are hoping that your few dollars will win you many dollars or a prize. However, in many cases raffling is done as a fundraiser to entice people to give their money. So, though it is gambling, it is done with the intent to support a cause or organization for the most part.
There are many who claim that God wants all of us to be rich. It is said that Jesus became poor so that we would be rich. It is said that Jesus atonement not only involved our healing spiritually and physically but also financially. The Bible does not reveal such teachings. There is no place in the Bible where we find that God desires for all of us to be rich. The Bible does reveal that God delights in our well-being or prosperity (Psalm 35:27). Consider the following passages of scripture.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NASB95) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
This verse of scripture seems to tell us that Jesus became poor so that we could become rich. However, given the context of Paul’s letter, it is doubtful that he was referring to finances.
- Psalm 1:1-3 – Delighting in God’s instruction and meditating on it day and night causes one to prosper in what he does
- Joshua 1:8 – God’s instruction and meditating on it leads the way to success and prosperity
- Proverbs 10:22
- Psalm 23:1
- John 10:10 – Given the context of the scripture, it is doubtful that Jesus is saying that “life abundant” means being rich. However, given that his redemptive act affects our entire life, we can depend on God to take care of us and prosper us in what we do.
- Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 – Wealth is a gift from God and the power to enjoy that wealth.
- Proverbs 21:20 – A wise person does not consume his wealth, but a foolish one does.
- Mark 10:25 – Riches can hinder a person from pursuing the path to God
God has not promised us that he will make us rich. Whether we are wealthy or not is dependent on several things, mostly hard work, and perseverance. There may be times when we are lucky, e.g., hitting a lottery, an inheritance, etc. However, in most cases, a person becomes wealthy because they have worked hard to build a business or the like that makes them lots of money.
This is not to say that God does not want you rich because there were many godly people who were rich as we saw previously. We do know from scripture that being rich can cause problems for us. It causes us to depend on money, love money, and even hoard money. Overall, any wealth we may achieve is based on what we do as stated above. Work hard at a business and it may succeed causing you to be wealthy. I am reminded of a passage in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 (NKJV) – 1Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. 3If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. 5As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
This passage admonishes us to diversify our investments. Solomon provides a lot of instruction regarding wealth in the entirety of Ecclesiastes. He tells us not to overwork to obtain wealth. At the same time, he admonishes us that laziness will bring poverty. We need to have a healthy disposition regarding wealth. We should not obsess with trying to obtain it nor do nothing. We should enjoy our lives and appreciate the things that are hard work provides for us. Solomon concludes by saying…
Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (NKJV) – 13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
We can be wealthy, but God has not promised us to be wealthy.
I am confident that you, the reader, have heard that we should tithe to our local church so that God would pour out a blessing on us that is so huge that we would not be able to contain it. Many ministers have taught that the way to succeed or to become prosperous is to give to the local church or the minister of God. Does the Bible teach this?
The bible does teach us that we should support the men and women of God. Those who preach the word of God either as an evangelist, apostle, pastor, prophet, or teacher. They deserve your support. However, this has little to do with a church organization. Many pastors demand tithes so that they can be financially secure. The congregation is deceived into thinking that tithing or otherwise giving will guarantee they will prosper. The bible does not teach this.
Giving is not a way to get wealth, but rather what wealthy people do. Jesus admonishes us not to hoard our wealth (See Jesus’ parable at Luke 12:16-21). In the parable, the rich man had an abundant crop. He decided to keep it all for himself and therefore invested in larger barns to store his crops. However, he died long before he could enjoy what his land produced. That man was called a fool. Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.”
Being rich towards God is obtained by meeting the needs of those who are in need, i.e., the less fortunate. Consider what Jesus said to the rich ruler.
Matthew 19:20–22 (NKJV) – 20The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Obtaining treasure in heaven (being rich towards God) means to help others with the resources that you have available. It is to realize and act upon the concept that all is not about you. We must think of others and do what we can to bless them as God blesses us.
Giving, therefore, is not a means of obtaining wealth, but rather what we do with our wealth.
Tithing is not how one gets wealth. You see nowhere in the bible where tithing made someone rich. Giving to the poor does not make one rich. We should do all we can with what we must help others whether we are rich or not. If we are wealthy, then we have that much more so that we can share to help others.
Should we stop giving to our church? Of course not. However, the point here is not to think that giving to your church is the method for obtaining wealth. Giving to your church is a way of supporting the ministry, which is a very good thing assuming your church is actually involved in ministry.
God is concerned for the well-being of his people not church organizations per se. Some churches are just social clubs and are not involved in ministry at all. Those are not the type of churches that you would typically support unless all you want is a social meeting place in the community.
I’m sure you’ve heard testimonies where people said that they gave to their church and the next day they received a check in the mail or the like. I find those comical and a great example how we can take our attention away from God and place it on people our ourselves. We think that the act of giving to the church made the check magically appear in the mail. Why can’t it simply be that God answered your prayer and you gave even though you were in need? We saw that kind of thing in the bible where Paul talked about Macedonia giving to the Christians in Judea who were destitute (See 2 Corinthians 8:1-8).
Do not be deceived or obligated by such testimonies and the corresponding teachings. Trust God to provide for you regardless of what things look like. You decide how much you will give if you can give at all. Remember, that the church should come to your aid when you are in need, which rarely happens. By church, I do not mean the organization, but rather the body of Christ. What if Christians worldwide came to the aide of fellow Christians who are in financial distress? Instead, we give it to organizations, so the pastor could have more cars, jewelry, and things. My father made a profound statement once at a family fellowship years ago. He basically said that people want God to bless them and they wonder when that blessing will come when the whole time they keep giving their blessing away. Every time God provides for their needs, they feel obligated to pay a tithe or give sacrificially. They should take care of that money to take care of the need it was provided for and then give abundantly when they are able.
I said above that giving is not the way to obtain wealth. Hard work and perseverance are key to obtaining wealth. You might become wealthy by starting a business, inventing something, developing a process that helps millions, etc. Here is a very important passage of scripture regarding obtaining wealth.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV) – 18“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
God gives us the power or ability to obtain wealth. One could argue that he was talking to a specific group of people at a specific time and he has not given us the power to obtain wealth. However, another way of looking at that passage is that the power to obtain wealth is in all of us. We all can work hard. We can all not give up. We can become successful and wealthy because of that ability that God places in us.
Earlier in this study, we looked at rich men and women in the bible and in our current time. They all obtained wealth by working hard and persisting in that work. We know that God told Solomon that he would make him rich. He did that through the gifts of many kings and queens giving him an abundance of gifts. However, even in that, Solomon worked hard as the King using his wisdom to solve disputes and help those who came to him. God blessed Solomon with wisdom to lead his people as the king.
This suggests that God could give us wisdom that may lead to our own success or well-being. Wisdom is something that we can obtain from God as a guarantee (See James 1:5). God could give us what we need to obtain wealth in other ways as well. He could give us an idea of an invention or process that can result in prosperity for us. He may give us an idea for a business to start. There are many things that God could give to us that would lead to wealth. However, even in those, there is something we must do, namely work hard and persist at it. God just doesn’t automatically make us rich by dumping money into our bank account or by dropping money from the sky (God is not a counterfeiter).
We may also obtain wealth through investments. You could invest in real estate, the stock market, an inventor, etc. Those investments could yield lots of money making you wealthy. Perhaps God would give you wisdom or insight into what to invest in. That’s not to say that God will give you insider information, but rather wisdom so that you would make the wise decision. Sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. You never know which investment will produce a crop for you as we read in Ecclesiastes 11.
Hard work + perseverance leads to wealth
Wealth increases our ability to help those in need and to do good
Christians are neither forbidden from or promised wealth by God. One can become wealthy through persisting in hard work. God has given us what we need to obtain wealth, but it is up to us to act on it and make it happen. Wealth brings with it some dangers such as the love of money, but we can, with God’s help, overcome those temptations.
We found that giving is not a guarantee to wealth. Giving can be increased because of wealth. You would be able to do more with more money. You could help more people financially with your abundance of finances. You could support more ministries financially if you were wealthy. We can become wealthy through hard work.
I should also say that you do not need to be wealthy to make an impact on the world around you. You can help people with whatever you have. You can support ministries with whatever you have. Just don’t be stingy thinking only of yourself. When you pray for provision, why not include your neighbor too? Be a blessing to others as God has blessed you. Be a conduit for God to provide for others around you and that will open the door for you to be entrusted with even more.