Does God Want Economic Equality?

The topic of money often stirs up debates among Christians. Part of the problem is so-called “prosperity preachers” who are misrepresented by critics playing or quoting selected portions of their sermons to where it distorts their original message. God wants His people to prosper but that doesn’t mean they won’t face tests and challenges along the way.

In response to a sermonette about prosperity that I posted on Facebook, a couple of friends made critical remarks about ministers owning an airplane. I unfriended one of them because he persisted in attacking a particular preacher who I happen to be a partner of. Another friend claimed God wants economic equality amongst His people citing 2 Corinthians 8:14 as her proof text…

“but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.”

You cannot build a doctrine on one verse. It must be read in context and compared with other Scriptures. Nevertheless, I looked up 2 Corinthians 8:14 in different versions. The New Living Translation renders it as Paul saying, “there should be SOME equality.” I agree the rich should help the poor but it’s not up to any man or organization to dictate how much each Christian should keep or give of their finances. That’s between them and the Lord. 

Just as I don’t like ministers using manipulative methods to extract offerings from people, I don’t like self-appointed watchdogs claiming certain preachers have too much money. One reason some Christians prosper is because they are generous givers (see Luke 6:38). I’ve heard of some who practice “reverse tithing”…giving 90% of their income and living off the remaining 10%. Their critics don’t even come close to doing that. 

My Facebook friend went on to say, “I agree with Paul about equality because he was a like a father. I am a mother of 4 children and never rewarded them for what they did. I just freely gave them all I had whether they did what I felt they should or not. They were always good in my eyes and are good today and successful and givers.”

I’ve never raised children and so I’m certainly no expert on the subject. However, common sense would tell me not to give everything a kid asks for. You wouldn’t let your three-year-old play with a loaded gun, would you? If I had a teenaged son, I wouldn’t let him have the keys to the family car if he constantly disrespected my authority by getting drunk on alcohol and staying out late.

Likewise, our Heavenly Father will bless His children who are faithful and follow His commandments. God’s love is unconditional but that doesn’t mean He rewards us equally. After being freed from Egyptian slavery, the children of Israel had a promised land set aside for them. All but two died in the wilderness because of disobedience.

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus said in Matthew 25:28-29 regarding the unprofitable servant, “Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” This doesn’t sound like economic equality to me.

The Lord spoke similar things in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Rewards are available “to him who overcomes.” Some Christians aren’t prosperous simply because they are lazy and won’t work (see Ephesians 4:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

I heard one minister point out if all the wealth of the world was evenly distributed, everyone would be millionaires. However, there are people who cannot handle large sums of money. Proverbs 1:32 (KJV) says, “…the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Many lottery winners squander their sudden wealth and fall back into poverty.

God is not into socialism. All believers can prosper if they mature and remain obedient to Him. Then when they get to heaven, they can hear the Lord say to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“‘If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword’; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” - Isaiah 1:19-20


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