Building Wealth for God’s Glory
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”- Romans 7:4
Both human experience and Scripture (for example, 1 Cor. 12) tell us that the talents and interests of human beings may vary greatly from one person to another. Since it is also true that we are typically most productive when we are free to make use of our talents and pursue a career that aligns well with our interests, it is no surprise that free economies tend to display more productivity in terms of goods and services than economies that are organized according to governmental fiat. When people are free to pursue their interests and profit from their labor, it is amazing to see just what men and women can accomplish in terms of innovation and the building of wealth.
Such increased productivity—in a free-market economy—benefits people at every level of income, not merely those who gain the most wealth. Though the wealthy and powerful sometimes exploit those weaker than they are, it is simply not the case that all wealthy people build their riches on the backs of the poor and the middle class. In fact, history shows us that people who figure out ways to grow their wealth often do so in a way that raises the standard of living for many others. Consider Henry Ford, whose use of the assembly line revolutionized industry, made him very wealthy, and improved the lives of many people in the United States and around the world. Before Ford came on the scene, automobiles were prohibitively expensive for most people, but this changed when Ford was able to lower drastically the costs to produce a car. Mass production allowed Ford to build automobiles for a fraction of what it previously cost to manufacture vehicles; this lowered the price of automobiles for consumers. Ford sold more than fifteen million Model T cars, and in so doing he became fabulously wealthy. But others benefitted as well. Consumers who never would have been able to afford an automobile otherwise were able to purchase a car and enjoy all of the attendant benefits. Thousands of good-paying jobs were also created through Ford’s work.
All of this is to say that building wealth through increased productivity and helping others is a good thing. And this is equally true for Christians. God redeemed us so that we could bear spiritual fruit for Him (Rom. 7:4); this fruit comes as we serve the Lord and our neighbors. The more productive we are and the more wealth that we build, the more we have to invest in God’s kingdom and help other people in Jesus’ name.
Pursuing increased productivity and wealth can be motivated by selfishness, but it does not have to be. We who know the Lord and want to serve Him and others can do much more for the kingdom if we increase our productivity and wealth. When we seek first the kingdom of God, our pursuit of productivity and the building of wealth are holy endeavors that enable us to support the work of the church and assist many people who have great financial needs.
Passages for Further Study
3 John 5–8