What does God think about money? It's not so much the money that He is concerned about. He's more concerned about how we obey our consciences, especially how we treat each other as we earn or use our money. When He sent His Son to teach us, He made it absolutely clear how He saw it. Our Master said, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."1 Anyone who is truly following the Son of God should heed His advice and seek Him as the source of his life, not money or possessions.
God's concern isn't really money, but our desire for it. What we desire and how we carry out those desires reveals to God and to others who we are. It shows whether we are good or evil. The desire for wealth puts a man on dangerous ground. The things that it buys can easily become a god to the unwary, driving them to do many hurtful things to themselves and to everyone around them. Is there anything someone wouldn't do for the sake of gaining wealth?
Many people are driven by greed to acquire wealth and power and all the comforts that go along with them. This desire is similar to the evil one's desire to rule in the place of God. He was once an angel who stood in the very presence of the Almighty. Not content to be under the authority of God, he rebelled against Him and led away a host of angels to follow him.2 This spirit of independence and self-glorying is now active in the world, ruling all humanity and all the economic systems that tie it together.3 This spirit also rules over the hearts of those who make wealth their security and possessions their ultimate goal. They seek to live as gods in a world created by their wealth.
Such idolatry will have clear consequences in every social relationship. Arrogance and callous disregard for others is a well-known trait of the wealthy (and the greedy), for such is the image of their father, the devil. They leave in their wake the broken lives of those who got in their way or were no longer useful to them. If the heartaches and broken trusts resulting from greed could be told in one story, who could bear to hear it?
Fraud and swindling are the daily business practices of millions. Some companies routinely bill their customers for goods and services never given. Products are designed to break down and wear out so that companies can sell more. Advertising uses brilliant but subtle manipulations to sell products that aren't needed or are not worth the inflated price charged for them. The rule is to charge whatever the market will bear. Doctors and lawyers charge outrageous amounts for fees and services that may not be justified, and conceal it behind specialized words and phrasing. Banks, brokerage houses, and real estate agencies are often corrupt. In the last decade, billions of dollars have disappeared in bad loans. No one seems to know where it went. Someone, somewhere, is certainly enjoying it. In the end, it will all have to be paid back by hardworking taxpayers and their children.
Stores expect customers to steal. The loss due to shoplifting is figured into the prices of all the items we buy. Credit card companies know that millions of dollars borrowed by cardholders will never be repaid. The interest they charge makes it clear the risk they assume. Even factory workers and salaried employees know that at times they have gotten paid for work they haven't done. Many people charge for shoddy work and jobs half-finished. Greed is evident everywhere, and most people try to rationalize it away. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Even Christians aren't above this type of behavior. People expect more of them because of what is written in the Bible and the example left by the Son of God when He was here on earth. Their hypocrisy is most glaring when it is done in the name of the One whose sole possession consisted of the one set of clothes He wore. His words and the words of His apostles make it clear that godliness should never be a means of material gain.4
So is there any solution? Those who sin will go to death. Yet there is hope for a greedy person if he gives up his life. He can repent of walking after the way of this greedy world and its spiritual master, Satan. He can believe in Yahshua and His words and receive a new life. If a person's death is as complete as the Master's when he goes into the waters of baptism in sincere faith, calling on Yahshua's name, he will be saved and will receive the power to live the rest of his life selflessly, loving others. As part of His people, the Commonwealth of Israel, he will experience His daily care where his needs will be met. Our Master has promised this to all who follow Him with all their hearts:
Therefore do not worry, saying, "What will we eat?" or, "What will we wear?" For it is the nations [of the world] who strive for all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.5
If the rich who are greedy forsake their own sinful ways for the sake of His forgiveness, they are given an entire new life as one of His people. They are commanded to give up their possessions for use in the new Israel, the community of believers. In order to be a part of this spiritual Israel, those who are rich
are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life [that is, eternal life]. (1 Timothy 6:18-19)
They will do what other wealthy followers of the Son of God have done. In the very beginning, in the first community in Jerusalem, it is recorded that
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4:34-35)
For those who find Christ's life in His body, it will be like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.6