Written by Alexander Pezzutto
I will always be poor.
I would never have said this out loud, but in my heart that is what I believed. At 17 I was anticipating a life of being a pastor, living by faith, always having next to nothing and seeing God miraculously provide. I had grown up poor anyways, so I was used to it. But did I actually enjoy being poor? Certainly not.
In my last fall semester of college, a speaker read a challenging verse that confronted my pain around money. He cited Mark 10:21-25, about the rich young ruler: “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me…. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
This speaker said if we didn’t sell all we had to go do mission work then we might not even be genuine Christians. He believed any wealth at all was evil. However, I realized that as a poor person, I harboured in my heart a resentment against the rich.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” Yet our speaker took those verses out of context; that saying is misquoted from Scripture—1 Timothy 6:10 actually says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. My prejudice against the rich was evil in my own heart produced by a lack of wealth, not the possession of it.
God loved many wealthy people in Scripture. King David, the one called “a man after the heart of God,” was very wealthy. He was certainly saved. And what about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Solomon, and many others throughout Scripture who were wealthy?
King David himself passionately proclaimed that “both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all” (1 Chronicles 29:12).
Riches come from God. He created wealth. If God is its source, it cannot be inherently evil. David’s son, Solomon, also sought God’s heart. When God offered to give him anything he asked, he requested, literally, for “a hearing heart.” Wisdom to lead God’s people. Because that is what he asked for, God also gave him long life, victory over his enemies, and more wealth than any man in history.
Yet none of these people who were blessed with wealth by God would firstly describe themselves as “rich.” That wasn’t where their primary identity was. Their heart was set first on God and their relationship with him.
After that speaker came, I realized that I was afraid of money. Afraid that it would cause me to stumble and would take my heart. That’s what Jesus was saying to the rich young ruler: I love you; but you love money more than me. He didn’t say that to any other potential disciple. For this particular disciple, his love of money prevented him from following God.
For me, it was the opposite. My fear of money prevented me from living out the fullness of my calling. This is why God jarred me when this speaker came. My Father later unearthed a calling to business AND ministry for me. Yet He captured my heart first.
He healed my fear of money and brought me mentors to guide me in understanding it. He showed me in Scripture, especially in Proverbs, all the wise ways of handling money and the principles He has laid down to have us prosper as we live them out.
Poverty is a mindset. And that forms an identity. Now, I am first and foremost a beloved son of God. And as a beloved son, my dad is a trillionaire. I plan ahead, I strategize, and I have gleaned wisdom from the Scriptures. I refuse to see myself as poor, but instead see the potential for value in opportunities all around me. Why? Because God isn’t afraid of money: it is His servant.
Friends, this is not a prosperity gospel. Wealth doesn’t come to all Christians. But we, more than any others, have access to the best teaching on the subject and a Father whom we can trust to always provide. If we live out His wisdom, wealth can come as a by-product.
And yet, if money is ever the point, we’ve missed it. Jesus is the point. Christ in us. We are His co-workers and co-heirs.
And He is our identity, the source of all provision. Believing we lack anything is a lie, and fearing His gifts is not His plan for us. I choose an identity as the son of a wealthy Father. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). [You could leave this as is, or you could also make the Bible quote a separate paragraph, indent that paragraph, and remove the quotation marks.]