The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Want You to Be Rich?
“It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!”
“I’m dreaming big—because all of heaven is dreaming big.”
“God gives us power to get wealth.”
“I’m prospering because of the Book [the Bible].”
THESE statements reflect the view of a number of religious groups that attribute material wealth to the blessing of God. If you do the right thing by God, they preach, he will empower you to gain the good things of this life and reward you afterward as well. The theology has wide appeal, and books promoting it are best sellers. But does this “prosperity theology” harmonize with the Bible?
To be sure, our Creator, whom the Bible calls “the happy God,” wants us to lead happy, successful lives. (1 Timothy 1:11; Psalm 1:1-3) Moreover, he blesses those who please him. (Proverbs 10:22) But for us today, is that blessing merely a form of material prosperity? The answer becomes clear when we understand where we are in the stream of time according to God’s purpose.
A Time to Get Rich?
In the past, Jehovah God blessed some of his servants with material wealth, the patriarch Job and King Solomon being good examples of that. (1 Kings 10:23; Job 42:12) Yet, many other God-fearing men had little, including John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. (Mark 1:6; Luke 9:58) The point? According to the Bible, God deals with his servants in harmony with his purpose for them at the time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) How does that principle apply to us today?
Bible prophecy reveals that we are living in “the conclusion of the system of things,” or “the last days” of the present world. This era would be marked by warfare, disease, famines, earthquakes, and a breakdown in society—conditions that have plagued mankind on an unprecedented scale since the year 1914. (Matthew 24:3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Luke 21:10, 11; Revelation 6:3-8) In short, this world, like a foundering ship, is about to sink! In view of those facts, would it make sense for God to bless each of his servants with material riches, or would God have other priorities for us?
Jesus Christ compared our time with the days of Noah. Jesus said: “As they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matthew 24:37-39) Jesus also compared our days with the days of Lot. Lot’s neighbors in Sodom and Gomorrah were ‘eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building.’ “But on the day that Lot came out of Sodom it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all,” Jesus said, adding: “The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”—Luke 17:28-30.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with eating, drinking, marrying, buying, and selling. The danger lies in being so absorbed in those things that we take no note of the urgency of the times. So ask yourself, ‘Would God be doing us a favor if he were to bless us with the very things that would fill our lives with distractions?’ * On the contrary, he would be doing us a great disservice. That is not the way of the God of love!—1 Timothy 6:17; 1 John 4:8.
A Time to Save Lives!
At this critical time in human history, God’s people have an urgent work to do. Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Jehovah’s Witnesses take those words very seriously. Hence, they encourage their neighbors to learn about that Kingdom and God’s requirements for everlasting life.—John 17:3.
However, God does not expect his faithful servants to be ascetics. Rather, he wants them to be content with life’s necessities so that they can focus on serving him. (Matthew 6:33) He, in turn, will see that their material needs are filled. Says Hebrews 13:5: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For [God] has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’”
God will prove true to those words in an outstanding way when he preserves “a great crowd” of true worshippers through the end of the present system of things and into a new world of peace and true prosperity. (Revelation 7:9, 14) Jesus said: “I have come that they [his faithful followers] might have life and might have it in abundance.” (John 10:10) That ‘abundant life’ refers, not to a life of material plenty now, but to endless life in Paradise under God’s Kingdom rule.—Luke 23:43.
Do not settle for less by being deceived by so-called prosperity theology, which, in reality, is distraction theology. Instead, heed Jesus’ loving but urgent words: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare.”—Luke 21:34, 35.
^ par. 13 As in the first century, some faithful Christians today are wealthy. However, God warns them not to trust in their riches nor be distracted by them. (Proverbs 11:28; Mark 10:25; Revelation 3:17) Rich or poor, all should focus on doing God’s will.—Luke 12:31.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
▪ For what is it now the appointed time?—Matthew 24:14.
▪ What must we avoid if we want to gain everlasting life?—Luke 21:34.
[Blurb on page 13]
So-called prosperity theology is, in reality, distraction theology