Dan has a post about Jesus on Economics and Religion, which has many good verses on not being obsessed with wealth or material things. To be sure, verses like this motivates his and other liberals’ views on the government and our economy. Let’s say that we want the government to be involved in helping the poor (I am more about private efforts but I am speaking as a moderate here). Let’s look at a few other verses.
“6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man. ” Proverbs 6:6-11
” 6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
Now, what is my point? Am I saying that poor people are lazy? No, not at all. What I am saying is this. If we are trying to develop a government that follows God’s commands about helping the poor, we should also take into account other verses that warn about idleness and laziness. In my view, we don’t want a government that can discourage people from making a living and encourage them to depend on the goodness of the government.
Some people believe that it is better to be safe than sorry, to do a little more than needed than do to little, and maybe they are right. At the same time, it can be detrimental to do too much. People need food and clothing, but they also need a life of dignity, to work and be useful to people, and to provide for their family.
I think the call of Christian living in relation to wealth is two-fold: give of yourself, but at the same time, earn your own bread.