Why is God against wealth so much anyway?


#1

???


#2

God is against anything that draws us away from the perfection which is our intended state. Wealth is just one of many things that can have this effect. If one is wealthy and yet lives a life of love, charity, humility, prayer and service, it's not a problem.


#3

Yes I agree. But I feel that God especially doesn't like wealth and wealthy people. Especially, as if he were picking on this specific group of people (alongside adulterers). Can a rich man, (or at least a man living comfortably) also live a holy life?? For me I believe it is completely possible because with more resources (money) they could use that to help people and further the glory of God on Earth. However, it seems that Catholic teaching always makes wealthy people feel guilty, even if they worked hard for the money. So much for being industrious. For instance, if poverty could be avoided, why not??? Why do some people choose voluntarily poor when the could easily forego that option? If you have the chance to work hard and make money, you should! (Though money is not the ends but only a means)

[quote="snarflemike, post:2, topic:318463"]
God is against anything that draws us away from the perfection which is our intended state. Wealth is just one of many things that can have this effect. If one is wealthy and yet lives a life of love, charity, humility, prayer and service, it's not a problem.

[/quote]

And how does poverty exactly bring one closer to God? What would be the difference between a poor person and someone living comfortably?

Does one HAVE to be poor to get closer to God? Why can't we just forge a relationship with him regardless of our economic background? Why is there pro-bias for poor people and not rich people / people with money but rather a condemnation? It seems that poor people have an edge over the rich folk.

but wait a second... I thought God was all-embracing? :confused:

If we worked HARD for our money, what is wrong with enjoying it?


#4

God is not against wealth in itself, as snarflemike noted.

The problem is that we tend to depend on wealth, or power, or whatever it might be, rather than put our trust in God. Look at how many people seem to trust in the Government to solve all our problems, and want to hand over all things to the government, such as health control decisions, gun control, economic choices, welfare and charity, and so on.

A poor person can still put their hope in wealth--but it's just not as likely, since they have little hope of getting that much wealth in time to make a difference. But the truly wealthy often devote so much attention to making money and keeping wealthy that they have little time for what matters: caring for others, serving God, and so on.


#5

I think what Jesus, specifically, was talking about when he criticized wealth was the lust for material possessions that, by definition, MUST crowd out God. Also, wealth doesn't necessarily mean someone who has 20 million in the bank. Consider how many times you have elected to watch television or to play on your computer instead of praying a daily rosary. By the standards of Jesus' time, even the poorest among us must seem pretty wealthy considering the "stuff" we have. Does my "stuff" detract from my relationship with God? Absolutely.

Now, granted, I don't believe God is against pleasureful pursuits in life, but materialism can often get in the way of our relationship with God. I don't want to sound petty but we need to consider these things.

Sean


#6

Jesus told us to lay up treasure in heaven where it cannot be destroyed. Treasure in this sense means our good things that we do which is recorded up in the book of life. This is what we will be judged on and this is what will be our legacy we take with us to heaven.

The treasure of this world will return to dust and at any moment it could be lost. While the world which does not believe in Jesus' kingdom and emphasizes the here and now, Jesus stresses what is important in his kingdom. The things of this world too often draw our eyes away from Jesus' treasure. All that glitters is not gold. So because the cares of this world envelope us, Jesus warns us about them.

If we look at the life of Jesus, we can't help but notice his simple life, the lack of luxuries. He was born in a stable, and grew up in a simple house. As a man he slept wherever he found a place to lay his head. He ate what was put before him, and his clothes were plain. He above all showed us how little he valued even the nice things of this world.
St. Paul tells us we should become more like him and less like ourselves.

So in our exam of conscience, we should review about what really concerns us and what is foremost in our hearts.

Just some thoughts.


#7

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:3, topic:318463"]
Yes I agree. But I feel that God especially doesn't like wealth and wealthy people. Especially, as if he were picking on this specific group of people (alongside adulterers). Can a rich man, (or at least a man living comfortably) also live a holy life?? For me I believe it is completely possible because with more resources (money) they could use that to help people and further the glory of God on Earth. However, it seems that Catholic teaching always makes wealthy people feel guilty, even if they worked hard for the money. So much for being industrious. For instance, if poverty could be avoided, why not??? Why do some people choose voluntarily poor when the could easily forego that option? If you have the chance to work hard and make money, you should! (Though money is not the ends but only a means)

And how does poverty exactly bring one closer to God? What would be the difference between a poor person and someone living comfortably?

Does one HAVE to be poor to get closer to God? Why can't we just forge a relationship with him regardless of our economic background? Why is there pro-bias for poor people and not rich people / people with money but rather a condemnation? It seems that poor people have an edge over the rich folk.

but wait a second... I thought God was all-embracing? :confused:

If we worked HARD for our money, what is wrong with enjoying it?

[/quote]

God is not against wealth, though He does caution that it can be a distraction (as can any worldly pleasure that we pursue to the detriment of our faith).

We have a duty to help the poor, and sacrificing all of one's personal possessions to do so is admirable, but it is not required. So long as we meet our duties to God and fellow man, we can absolutely enjoy the real good that God has built into our world. We just have to make sure that we don't put this created good above our creator.

Some Christians hate wealth and like to present God as a some sort of Marxist, but that is wrong. It absolutely is true that we must view wealth with caution, since it is easy to put worldly things above God and that is fatal, but it is false that wealth in itself is always bad or always a sign of a person who is not following God.


#8

It is do-able to lay up heavenly treasures while enjoying the world every here and now.

[quote="fred_conty, post:6, topic:318463"]
Jesus told us to lay up treasure in heaven where it cannot be destroyed. Treasure in this sense means our good things that we do which is recorded up in the book of life. This is what we will be judged on and this is what will be our legacy we take with us to heaven.

The treasure of this world will return to dust and at any moment it could be lost. While the world which does not believe in Jesus' kingdom and emphasizes the here and now, Jesus stresses what is important in his kingdom. The things of this world too often draw our eyes away from Jesus' treasure. All that glitters is not gold. So because the cares of this world envelope us, Jesus warns us about them.

If we look at the life of Jesus, we can't help but notice his simple life, the lack of luxuries. He was born in a stable, and grew up in a simple house. As a man he slept wherever he found a place to lay his head. He ate what was put before him, and his clothes were plain. He above all showed us how little he valued even the nice things of this world.
St. Paul tells us we should become more like him and less like ourselves.

So in our exam of conscience, we should review about what really concerns us and what is foremost in our hearts.

Just some thoughts.

[/quote]


#9

God is not against wealth; He is against the attachment to wealth over Him.


#10

It is the LOVE of money that causes the problem ... not the actual money.


#11

God is against the materialism and greed that can spout from wealth, not wealth in of itself is how I understand it.


#12

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:3, topic:318463"]

And how does poverty exactly bring one closer to God? What would be the difference between a poor person and someone living comfortably?

Does one HAVE to be poor to get closer to God? Why can't we just forge a relationship with him regardless of our economic background? Why is there pro-bias for poor people and not rich people / people with money but rather a condemnation? It seems that poor people have an edge over the rich folk.

but wait a second... I thought God was all-embracing? :confused:

If we worked HARD for our money, what is wrong with enjoying it?

[/quote]

Again, the issue is whether any thing becomes a focus of our lives, leading us away from God. That could be wealth, it could be stunning good looks, or fame, or power, or great intelligence combined with pride. Each of these can easily lead a person away from the 2 Great Commandments. Surely this is not a controversial view.


#13

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:8, topic:318463"]
It is do-able to lay up heavenly treasures while enjoying the world every here and now.

[/quote]

"...while enjoying the world..."

That doesn't sound like what Jesus was saying.

Mt. 19:22 "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kindgom of heaven."
Lk. 6;24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort."
Lk. 12;22 "But God said to him "you fool." This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

1Tim. 6;9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

There have been wealthy people and did help those less fortunate. St. Phillip Neri would take tea with the rich ladies who in turn contributed to his good causes. He felt that by asking them to help, he was helping them in their spiritual life.

Just some thoughts.


#14

to get wealthy generally you want to become wealthy, rarely happens to you or is left from your parents.
If you worked hard for it to share with other people that have less, for watever reason they have less, it is our goal as christians. If we are capable more then our brother to survive we should give what is not necessary. Many don't believe in it, but reading the act of apostols is clear.

In this world we have to survive to live in the next. many of us Christians and of course me among these we tend to live in this world with the aspiration of surviving to the next! Completely the contrary. This attitude revels that we belong to this world with no wish to excape from it.
Jesus help the lost ship that cries, but I don't think run after a ship that is so happy to run away from him because it is amusing itself.

It is simple and clear. It has been said many times. It is not nice to ear it, but as stated you cannot be friend of this world and ogf God at the same time.


#15

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:1, topic:318463"]
???

[/quote]

Where the Heart is, there lies the treasure.


#16

What do you consider wealth: "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," or having enough temporal goods that one does not worry about their next meal, and can share with the less fortunate?

Inordinate attachment to money is basically what Jesus was discussing. Inordinate attachments are what separates us from seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven, whether they are to money, power, influence, sex, gluttonous pleasures, and so forth. Avarice is what drives many people to other sins, such as repressing those underneath them, conspicuous consumption of resources, pridefulness, vanity, and greed.

Putting one's trust in one's own resources leads to failing to put one's trust in God.

True, there have been wealthy people who used their resources for the glory of God and in service to humanity. They are few and far between. St. Katherine Drexel comes immediately to mind.


#17

I wish God would allow me to become wealthy. I can't keep a job, I can't make money in the stock market....ugh.


#18

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:3, topic:318463"]
Yes I agree. But I feel that God especially doesn't like wealth and wealthy people. Especially, as if he were picking on this specific group of people (alongside adulterers).

[/quote]

This is not true. Money is a thing of this world. God has no care about "wealth" (as measured in money) one way or another. It is something of no interest to him at all.
What God is interested in is a person's heart and soul. Where is his heart?

Can a rich man, (or at least a man living comfortably) also live a holy life?? For me I believe it is completely possible because with more resources (money) they could use that to help people and further the glory of God on Earth.

This gets into what would constitute "rich" - how it is measured and how it is used.

If a man has control of large sums of capital and uses it for the Glory of God, then he probably lives modestly himself. Instead, he employs his resources to the greatest benefit of his neighbor and community etc.

The Tax man might look at his "net worth" can call him wealthy. His neighbors might look at his lifestyle and figure he is "middle class".

However - there are great temptations involved in having such control and many succumb to the temptations for big houses, cars, boats, expensive vacations etc. Things that do not utilize their resources to God's greatest glory.

However, it seems that Catholic teaching always makes wealthy people feel guilty, even if they worked hard for the money. So much for being industrious.

I have found nothing in Catholic teaching designed to make people with money feel "guilty" - It think that If guilt is engendered by the teaching on wealth it's more likely to be one's conscience being pricked by the Holy Spirit. ;)

For instance, if poverty could be avoided, why not??? Why do some people choose voluntarily poor when the could easily forego that option? If you have the chance to work hard and make money, you should! (Though money is not the ends but only a means)

Not sure who you are referring to here - except maybe religious and they choose poverty not to lose something but to gain it. Too many "things" get in the way.

And how does poverty exactly bring one closer to God? What would be the difference between a poor person and someone living comfortably?

It really isn't about how much money one has. It really isn't.

One moves closer to God by getting rid of things that get in the way. Essentially these are spiritual things. Attachments to created things as well as faults in our character (greed pride etc.). The more a person overcomes these faults and attachments, their outlook changes. Wealth has no appeal to them.

Now such a person might feel called to a life of poverty or a person might feel called to giving a greater portion of their earnings to charity, or they might be called to raising up children in the faith or whatever....but the monetary aspect is not what it is about.

Does one HAVE to be poor to get closer to God? Why can't we just forge a relationship with him regardless of our economic background? Why is there pro-bias for poor people and not rich people / people with money but rather a condemnation? It seems that poor people have an edge over the rich folk.

As I explained above...one CAN get closer to God without being poor....but the closer one gets to God...the less they will care about money.

If we worked HARD for our money, what is wrong with enjoying it?

The question is - how will you enjoy it...who benefits....and is it for the glory of God? Spending money is a good thing. When you buy something someone had to make that thing, someone shipped it, a merchant sold it to you. These are all beneficial things.

Investments likewise can be highly beneficial - providing capital to businesses to employ more people etc.

but it is not about the $$$ It's about the heart.

Peace
James


#19

[quote="TemplarKnight1, post:1, topic:318463"]
???

[/quote]

Being wealthy is a test. It could be in all liklihood an extraordinarily difficult test because wealth usually makes life very easy. It takes away the normal difficulties and worries of life that effect everyone else every day for their life. If the wealthy want to buy something they buy it. They can buy what they want when they want it. Life is easy and in all liklihood it can be self indulgent.

Think of the richman and Lazarus story.

Lk 16:
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony......[snip]

That last statement I think sums it up. Since Jesus is telling this story, He could be giving us a preview of how he will judge the wealthy who are tight fisted with their money. Unless the wealthy are very benevolent with their wealth, then it could go badly for them in the end. . And THAT's the test, which could be extremely difficult for anyone who is wealthy....and that can be variously measured ..


#20

Thanks.

[quote="steve_b, post:19, topic:318463"]
Being wealthy is a test. It could be in all liklihood an extraordinarily difficult test because wealth usually makes life very easy. It takes away the normal difficulties and worries of life that effect everyone else every day for their life. If the wealthy want to buy something they buy it. They can buy what they want when they want it. Life is easy and in all liklihood it can be self indulgent.

Think of the richman and Lazarus story.

Lk 16:
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony......[snip]

That last statement I think sums it up. Since Jesus is telling this story, He could be giving us a preview of how he will judge the wealthy who are tight fisted with their money. Unless the wealthy are very benevolent with their wealth, then it could go badly for them in the end. . And THAT's the test, which could be extremely difficult for anyone who is wealthy....and that can be variously measured ..

[/quote]


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