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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

Making a Godly Use of Our Wealth

And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.

— Deuteronomy 8:18a


Question 142 of the Larger Catechism asks, “What are the sins forbidden in the Eighth

Commandment?” The final part of the answer states, “The sins forbidden in the Eighth

Commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are… as likewise idleness,

prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own

outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which

God hath given us.” Last time we saw how stealing, like all sin, begins in the heart. Today

we consider our responsibility to protect our wealth and our ability to earn wealth.

It may run contrary to what many believers think, but the Bible is not against wealth.

Some of the godliest people in Scripture have been among the wealthiest of their age.

Thus, Job was both the most upright and the richest man of his day (Job 1:1-3). So also

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Esther, Daniel, and many others from the pages of

Scripture all possessed enormous wealth and were known for their godliness and virtue. It

may be stretching the analogy a bit, but God Himself is both the most righteous and the

wealthiest being there is! Now these examples, especially the last one, prove the point

that having wealth is in no way incompatible with godliness. It is not money itself, but “the

love of money” that Scripture calls “the root of all evil,” (1 Tim 6:10). Thus, Jesus warned His

disciples to not love the things of this world but to “seek first the kingdom of God and His

righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” (Matt. 6:33).

Now if we couple this point with the fact that it is God’s blessing that “makes one rich,”

(Pro. 10:22); and that wealth and riches in this life are said to be God’s gift (and not curse) to

some (Ecc. 5:22), we must conclude that the abundance of wealth is itself a good thing.

Consequently, in the next life riches will be the inheritance of all the godly (Psa. 112:3) as

part of our reward from God. Take a moment to read Rev. 21:10-27 and consider the

opulent wealth of the magnificent home that God promises to all His children. Surely our

God is an extravagant God, and our cup will run over in the luxury of His kingdom for all

eternity! So, what should we say about wealth in this life, should we seek it or not?

I believe Scripture answers this question very clearly. We are not to seek wealth in and of

itself (see Matt. 6:33 above). But we are to make the most of the good gifts that our most

generous God gives to us. Making the most of God’s good gifts (obviously in a godly

fashion, keeping things in the proper balance) is one way we show our love for Him.

Christians should do their best at school and at their jobs (diligently using God’s gifts of

intellect and opportunity) without making these things idols. And if you do and God

blesses you with the further gifts of success and wealth, which often go with hard work,

you have even more reason to be thankful to God and to be a good steward of all that God

is giving you for His glory and your godly enjoyment.

Today’s Catechism section speaks directly to our duty to be good stewards of our God-

given wealth no matter how great or how small. We are to be grateful for and appreciate

what God has given to us, avoiding anything that would “defraud” us of its use and

comfort. The things of this world can be used for much good. We know this. Thus, we

should do all we can to take care of those good things that God has given to us, in order to

make the best use of them for His glory. Conversely, we “unduly prejudice” our wealth

when we take unnecessary chances with it, such as gambling, playing the market, or even

neglecting to make a wise use of the means of protection and preservation, such as door

locks and insurance! Prodigality is to waste wealth on foolish or sinful things. Idleness

squanders opportunity for new wealth even as it allows what we have to be lost. So, the

idle shepherd puts off fixing the fence until the wolf comes in and causes him much

greater loss. May our good God cause us to see that all we have are His good gifts to us, so

that we will be careful to take care of our possessions for His glory and our good.

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