Jesus’ View of Wealth

Jesus had a lot to say about wealth, but four major themes across the Gospels emerge summarized by the themes of foolishness, distraction, hindrance and heart testing.  Studying these Bible passages provides a warning about the risk of coveting what others have and should drive you more towards contentment in what God has provided.

1. The pursuit of wealth is foolishness

  • What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit His life? (Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25)
  • Foolish is storing treasure for self; not being rich toward God (Luke 12:21); do not store up treasure on earth (Matthew 6:19-21)

2. Wealth distracts from true priorities

  • Cares of the world, delight in riches and desire for things, choke the word (Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14)
  • Where your treasure is your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • We cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)
  • What is exalted by men (wealth), is an abomination before God (Luke 16:14-15)

3. Wealth hinders faith

  • Wealth is tied to faith and worry.  People who are concerned about earthly possessions and money are not depending on God’s provision (Luke 12:22-34)
  • It’s difficult for the rich to enter heaven (Mark 10:23-25)
  • In extreme cases where wealth is a god, sell all you have, give to the poor and follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21, Luke 12:33).  Sell all and give to the poor to have treasure in heaven (Luke 18:18-23)
  • It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to have eternal life (Luke 18:24-27)

4. Wealth tests the heart

  • The poor widow contributed more than wealthy because they contributed out of abundance (Mark 12:43-44)
  • Zacchaeus promised to give half of goods to poor and Jesus affirms him by saying he was saved (Luke 19:8-9)
  • Supporting extended family financially affirmed (Mark 7:9-13)
  • Faithful in little (talents) is an indication of being faithful in much (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • If we’re not faithful in earthly wealth, we won’t be entrusted with true riches/truth (Luke 16:11).  If we aren’t faithful in someone else’s wealth, won’t be faithful in our own (Luke 16:12)

Key passage to summarize view: Luke 12:13-34 (rich man built store houses to hoard his wealth; we should not be anxious because God provides)

  • Do not covet because life does not consist of possessions, but be rich toward God
  • Seek the kingdom rather than the stuff of earth