DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Is it wrong to be successful and make lots of money and have nice things? My parents were always poor, and I don’t want to be like that if I can help it. But maybe God doesn’t want us to be successful. — M.M.
DEAR M.M.: It’s not necessarily wrong in God’s eyes to be successful — if we have the right motives. In fact, some of God’s most dedicated servants in the Bible were men and women who were financially successful — people like Abraham, Job and Lydia. Jesus’ little band of disciples was supported financially by several people of wealth (see Luke 8:3).
At the same time, the Bible repeatedly warns us against greed and covetousness, which are sins. When things become more important to us than God, we’re in grave spiritual and moral danger. Instead of controlling our money and using it for good, our money begins to control us and causes great harm. Jesus warned, “No one can serve two masters.… You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
Greed not only hurts us, but it also makes us insensitive to the needs of others. Do you remember the story of King Ahab in the Old Testament? He already had all the wealth anyone could ever want, but he wanted more, and greedily coveted a vineyard belonging to a man named Naboth. Eventually he arranged for Naboth to be killed so he could get the vineyard. But Elijah condemned him: “You have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 21:20).
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Don’t sell your soul to money or things. Instead, put your life and your abilities into Christ’s hands, and ask him to use you for his glory. The greatest wealth we can ever have is a heart filled with Christ.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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