Read 1 Timothy 6: 3-18
Let’s talk about the touchy subject of money for a moment. Society tends to classify people in two camps – the haves and the have-nots or rich and poor. However, the Bible doesn’t split things up this way. There are actually four classifications and two categories that ties rich and poor together. Let me explain by describing the four classifications. A great deal of this is fleshed out in the book of Proverbs found in the Old Testament in the Bible.
1) The Righteous Rich
These are the people who work hard and work smart. They save provisions for possibly difficult days ahead. They make wise investments. They are frugal. They don’t “love money” but they love God and they realize any blessing or provisions or riches they do have is because of God and belongs to him anyway. They don’t “hoard” their riches but are generous because they see themselves as being blessed to be a blessing to others. They know that somehow they are blessed, not for an exclusive and elite privilege, but for service and sacrifice. They are thankful.
2) The Righteous Poor
These are also people who work hard and work smart. They save provisions for possibly difficult days ahead. They don’t “love money” but they love God and they realize all they have is belongs to God. If possible they are generous with what they have but working smart and hard in this world doesn’t guarantee fiscal reward. The book of James says that those in humble circumstance might actually be blessed because they don’t experience the same temptations that riches can bring. In their life situation moving up the ladder might have meant compromising some core values so they have been held back. They could have also been born into poverty and find their social class difficult or impossible to break out of. They are thankful regardless of their circumstances.
3) The Unrighteous Rich
These are people who have moved up the ladder by compromise. They oppress their workers and are unfair. They have gained their wealth in underhanded ways. They are greedy and love money. They care little about God and see themselves as the sole reason for their own success. They see themselves as being blessed they deserve it. The see those less fortunate than themselves as deserving their lot in life and if they would just work hard and get a job then they would get ahead.
4) The Unrighteous Poor
Proverbs describes these people as “fools.” They would rather see themselves as victims and keep placing their bets.. They care little about God and find themselves in their situation in life because of their poor choices and behaviors. They don’t work hard; they don’t save; and they are not frugal. What little they have is theirs, and there is no way they are going to share it, because they have no trust in God to provide for them.
Now, what counts to God, it is not whether a person has riches or not but whether they live for him or not. Fully alive followers of Christ see themselves as blessed to be a blessing. They see that everything they have belongs to God. They trust in God to provide for them tomorrow and they live with a spirit of generosity whether they are rich or poor.