Tiana Clewis: Is being rich as sin?
Did Jesus actually mean to say that you're more blessed if you're poor?
Is money really, really the root of all evil?
I've heard these three questions over and over again, and each time I hear it, it turns out that that belief is a massive roadblock to that person's finances. So they find themselves struggling to make ends meet, or if they are able to actually cover their bills, that's pretty much all they can cover. And if they want to build a successful business, it's like they find themselves having a brick wall, stopping them right there in their tracks.
For Christians, these questions can be an absolute wealth killer and they will leave you with a chaotic finance situation, limping businesses and empty bank accounts.
But what if you were wrong about the answers to each of those questions? What if God is actually okay with you building wealth?
Today, I'm going to knock down each one of these wealth-killing Christian questions so you can follow me to be free to start making and keeping some serious cash.
Oh, yeah, and I'm going to use my Bible to do it.
Hey Dreamers. Welcome back to my channel, where we break down all things money so it can stop being an obstacle and start acting like what it was designed to be: a tool to help you create a life that you truly find worth living.
Now, before we can start what I'm basically gonna call a mini-financial Bible study, let me introduce myself to the new people. I'm Tiana B. Clewis, an author, speaker, coach, and executive pastor who's made it her business to help women entrepreneurs transform their relationship with money so they can grow their income, dump debt and start building the lifestyle they've been dreaming about while still having some fun along the way.
Believe me, when I say that you can help a family member with any emergency and grow your savings all at the same time. I've done it and so have many of my clients.
If you want to join me on this journey, like this video and follow my channel by clicking that big red button below. Then hit the bell to make sure that you get notified when I drop brand new money tips and strategies each week, that'll help you hit your financial goals while still enjoying life.
Is money the root of all evil?
I have to take on this question first, because this common misunderstanding of scripture shapes everything about how you think about money. If you truly believe money is the root of all evil, you're going to do everything you can to minimize your interactions with it.
Remember, building wealth is about how much money you can keep, but if the money is evil, you're not going to really try to make it or keep it. So instead of saving or investing your money, you find every way that you can to get rid of it. Whether it's loaning it to people who you know will never pay you back or by constantly buying other people's stuff.
I also see people unintentionally sabotaging their income, keeping it so low that all they can do is pay bills and there's never actually enough money left to keep.
Consider this, if you're a person who says you want to be successful, but you can't seem to motivate yourself to do what's necessary to turn your side hustle into a seven figure business or to chase that dream you have of sitting in the C-suite, this belief may just be bouncing around in your subconscious.
And the worst part is that people tell you that this phrase is in the Bible. And if you're anything like me, you know that the Bible is God's inspired word as sent to us through his prophets and his leaders and his disciples. So since it's in the Bible, it must be true.
Well, it wouldn't be, if it actually was in the Bible.
Now, if you do a great deal of digging, you may be able to find a questionable translation or two with that phrase in it. But every translation that I have ever seen says something along these lines:
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith... faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
That's from 1 Timothy 6:10 and I read it from the New International Version or NIV.
I want to focus your attention on the first part of the phrase, which says "for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."
Notice three things in this line. Number one, it's not the money itself that's the problem; it's the love of money that's the problem. I'll talk about that part a bit more in a moment, but it's vital that you hear that: the love of money is the problem.
Number two, our problem is a root of all kinds of evil, not the root. That means there's other things that can lead folks to do evil.
And three, the scripture doesn't say evil; it says all kinds of evil. Once again, not every evil act stems from the problem list listed in the scripture.
In all transparency, I have to note that the last two points don't necessarily hold up when you read the King James Version of the Bible, which says "for the love of money is the root of all evil."
However, most translations are more in line with the NIV. So while I'm usually a KJV girl, I had to use another translation for this explanation.
That being said, you can easily see that this verse has been misspoken for years. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
The question then becomes "why is the low of money such a problem?"
Timothy, the disciple who wrote this, begins to explain it in the rest of the verse. He says, "some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
Essentially the person becomes so enamored with making money and having money that they turn their back on their faith in God and Jesus Christ, so they can do whatever it takes to get that money. This creates all these unnecessary struggles and strife and pain in their lives that could have been avoided had they stayed the course with Christ.
In fact, if you take a step back one verse, Timothy says in verse nine, "but those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction."
So when you put it all together, you realize that what Timothy is saying is that when you're so in love with the idea of being rich, that you would willingly turn your back on God and Jesus Christ, you'll find yourself ensnared in temptation and coerced into doing evil, which will ultimately lead to your destruction and unnecessary drama.
But I want to take this explanation a little further because unlike Timothy, I have the benefit of the entire New Testament sitting here, written on this desk behind me. So let's look at Matthew chapter six, verses 24, which comes from Jesus' famed Sermon on the Mount.
In this verse, Jesus says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Again, I'm reading from the NIV translation.
Jesus is saying that you have to choose. You have to do choose whether to serve God or whether to serve money because you can't serve both. One of them, God or money, is going to be elevated above the other.
With that in mind, we can see that Timothy was referring to the people that chose to serve money over God. Their love of money was elevated above their love of God. And since we know that we're called to love the Lord with all our hearts, our mind, our soul, and our strength, choosing to love money over God means we've fallen into the sin of idolatry with money as the idol.
So no, money itself is not the root of all evil, but if you love money more than you love God, you have officially made money your idol, which means you need to go repent and get back in love with God.
All right, so money is officially not the root of all evil, but what about being rich? Is being rich a sin?
I've heard this question many times. I've seen it on YouTube. I've seen preachers preach on it, with different perspectives for some reason, so I knew that I had to come and break it down for you.
The short answer is no, being rich is not a sin.
How do I know?
Because throughout the Bible, God regularly blesses those that obey him with riches.
Now I'm not saying that he does this for absolutely everyone. For example, the prophet Jeremiah was pretty much broke his entire life, but we know that God loved Jeremiah because the prophet obeyed him in the face of great adversity. So just because you obeyed God and walked his desired path through your life doesn't mean you're going to be rich.
However you could be.
For example, when you look back in the book of Genesis, you see many wealthy men that God loved, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. In the book of Job, you have a Job himself who was very wealthy, brought to poverty, and then made wealthy again because he never cursed God in the midst of all his trials. David became the King of Israel in 2 Samuel 5 and his son Solomon was so wealthy, it's estimated that his net worth was around $2.2 trillion in today's money.
But rich people who love God and who were loved by him in return are not limited to the Old Testament.
For example, the entire book of Philemon was addressed to a wealthy believer. And in Acts 4:36, we see that one of the disciples, Barnabas, was pretty much a rich man.
And if you pay close attention, you'll realize that Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were likely rich as well. As you read through the book of John, we see them hosting Jesus and the disciples more than once, an expensive task for so many guests. You see that before Lazarus was raised from the dead, he appeared to be laying in a family tomb, which typically own the rich... only the rich could afford.
And the famous scene where Mary anointed Jesus' feet with perfume... well, that perfume is called spikenard and it's used to anoint Kings. It cost one years' salary, which in... many say was roughly 3000 denari. If you translate 3000 denari back then to money now, that oil that she poured on Jesus' feet was worth $56,000.
Yeah, them some rich folk.
So when you look at all these people that served God, that God loved, that Christ loved and who are held as great godly examples, how can we say that being rich is a sin?
God abhors sin. So if being rich as a sin, he certainly wouldn't bless his followers with riches or allow converts to continue to be wealthy, would he?
No, because then God would be encouraging and that's just not in his nature.
So if you're worried that being rich is a sin, don't be because it's not. Once again, it's about who you love more: God and Jesus Christ or the riches. You can find a great example of this dilemma in the book of Matthew.
When you look at chapter 19, starting at verse 16, you see a man come up to Jesus, asking how he can get eternal life. Jesus tells the young man to keep the commandments, like, not committing murder, not stealing, not giving false testimony - because yes, perjury is a crime and a sin - honoring your parents, and loving your neighbor as yourself. The young man says that he's done all these things and asked "what do I lack?"
This brings us to verse 21, which says, "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Verse 22, then says "When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth."
Who do you think this young man loved more: Jesus Christ or his great wealth?
It was his wealth.
Now remember, I told you that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus had money, right? But when you read the Bible, you never see Jesus tell them to give away all their wealth. So why say it to the young... to the young man and not them?
It's because Jesus knew that this man's heart lay with his wealth and not with God. By telling the young men to give up that wealth, he was giving the man an opportunity to change his ways and choose God.
But as we can see, he didn't. He decided that he would rather keep his wealth and forfeit eternal life with Christ.
So being rich is not the problem, but loving our riches, i.e loving our money so much that we would choose those riches over God is definitely a problem. Those riches have then become our idol, which is a sin and requires us to repent, just like with the first question.
I have one more wealth killing question that I want to talk about, and I know we're going a little long, but just bear with me because this is super important. The question is, are you really more blessed if you're poor?
This belief comes from what Jesus said in the Beatitudes at the very start of his preaching and teaching ministry. If you look at Luke 6:20, you see that Jesus is standing on the side of a mountain, surrounded by a massive crowd. And it says: "He lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said, 'Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'"
He continues on to give other blessings, like to those who are hungry, but when you get to verse 24, he starts to flip the script. He goes from blessings to what are essentially curses, "'But woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation.'"
For those of us who love God, but want to build wealth for our families, that can be a little disconcerting. He said the poor are blessed and issued curses... curses on the rich. So I can totally understand why people think that the poor are actually more blessed than the rich.
This belief is then reinforced in other scriptures where Jesus talks about money. For example, in Mark chapter 12, verse 41, we see a story about a poor widow who put a couple of coins worth only a few cents into the offering for the temple treasury. She does this, even in the midst of a bunch of rich folks who come up and just throw in stacks, all right. Seeing this, Jesus pulls his disciples aside and says that the widow actually gave more than the rich men, because they were giving out of their abundance while she gave everything that she had.
When you combine these scriptures and even the story of the young rich man that we talked about earlier, it paints this picture that you're more blessed if you're poor, an argument that I've heard many make in the past.
But if you've noticed a theme in the true issue that God and Jesus had with money, it comes down to who you love in your heart. Do you love money and all that comes with having a lot of money or do you love God?
So in the case of the widow, she loved God so much that so she was willing to give away everything that she had. However, the rich men, they weren't. They didn't love God, although they gave away money to look like they did. They really loved the money and all that came with it.
Let me give you a little bit of historical context. Remember when I pointed out that God had a habit in the Old Testament of blessing his followers, like Abraham and Job and Isaac, with great wealth?
Well, the Israelites back then had picked up on that trend as well. So they believed that wealthy Israelites were the most righteous, the most godly, the most blessed by God. And that came with a great deal of respect and honor and power in their communities.
The problem is that this concept became corrupted as people began to do whatever it took to amass wealth for the sake of that respect and that honor and the power. That means things like taking advantage of the poor and the widows who they were called to protect.
In fact, if you go back to Mark 12 and you look at verses 38 through 40, you see an example of Jesus calling out these very people in their actions. "And he said unto them in his doctrine, 'Beware of the scribes, which loves to long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widow's houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.'"
Here Jesus is calling out the scribes and their efforts to take the homes of widows through deceptive means in order to further their own wealth. Throughout his teaching ministry, Jesus calls out members of the socio-economic elite for a number of practices that grew their wealth through immoral and sometimes downright sinful means, all while pretending to be godly at the same time.
So essentially many of the wealthy Israelites during Jesus' day were the exact type of person that Timothy was talking about: serving money over God.
Now, let me add one more tidbit before I bring this all together.
When Jesus first started his teaching ministry, he went to the Israelite people first. While there are some non-Israelites who heard his message, who believed, and who were on the receiving end of some of his miracles, he focused his pre-death ministry on the Israelite people. It wasn't until after his death, burial, resurrection, that he's specifically instructs his disciples to share the gospel with everyone, including non-Israelites.
All right? So let's put it all together.
We know that many wealthy Israelites were corrupted, seeking after money instead of God, and we know that Jesus was focused on the Israelite people when he first started preaching, which includes the Beatitudes that we just talked about. So what was Jesus doing when he blessed the poor and condemned the rich?
Well he was telling the poor Israelites that had been faithful to God and abused by the wealthy, that God saw them and they would be blessed. And for those corrupted rich guys who were doing the abusing, they would be the ones to see damnation.
This was not a general message to all people during all times. This was a specific message to a specific group living through a specific time, but it does have lessons that we can all apply.
Ultimately, if you follow God with all your heart, just for the sake of following him and loving him, not for the sake of money and power and fame and respect, God will see you and he will bless you. And no, that may not mean financially, but yes, it actually could be.
So no, being poor does not automatically make you more blessed and being rich does not automatically make you less blessed. It's about whether you love God first and follow him in his ways. That's what makes you blessed.
Now I must say, it is truly my prayer for all of you that when you love God with all your heart, he will choose to bless you with financial success. In fact, I believe that God keeps putting this message on my heart - because I've shared it a couple of times over the last few years - because he's giving you permission to build well, as long as you keep him first.
So with that in mind I want to invite you to link up with a group of women who have also accepted that it's okay to have wealth. Together, we're dumping debt, we're saving money and we're pursuing financial freedom with a vengeance.
It's called the Dreamers Financial Sanctuary and we would love to see you in the group, taking action and pursuing your financial goals right along with this. It's also the fastest place to get me to answer your questions, especially if you use the hashtag #AskTiana.
So become part of the community by heading to TianaBClewis.com/Sanctuary, clicking that Request to Join" button and answering the questions.
As a free gift, I'm going to hit you up with access to my "Where to Start" guide, which will help you pinpoint exactly what your first milestone should be on this ambitious, I'm living my best godly life, journey. You'll find the link to that right in the welcome post.
Before you head over to the group, let me know that you found this video useful by hitting that thumbs up below and subscribing to my channel. Don't forget to hit the bell so you're notified each week when I drop new money tips and strategies to help you use your hard-earned cash to dump debt, save money and start building your ideal life without sacrificing all the fun along the way.
Finally, if you're looking for more information that'll help you start your journey to financial freedom - now that you know you're actually allowed to do it - these two videos are exactly what you need.
With that, you get to watch those videos and I'll see you next week. Bye bye.
Some Christians believe in financial abundance, while others believe wealthy Christians are not as blessed as those living in poverty. Who has the right view of Christianity and money? The Bible has a lot to say about money and wealth. Today, we’re addressing 3 questions on Christian wealth and financial freedom that will change how you view financial blessings!
Estimated Wealth of King Solomon: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/richest-men-in-history-vladimir-putin-bill-gates-and-warren-buffett-arent-even-close-2017-08-09
02:13 Question 1 – Is money the root of all evil?
07:25 Question 2 – Is being rich a sin?
11:59 Question 3 – Are you really more blessed if you’re poor?
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BOOK: Ready to stop suffering under the weight of debt or living trapped in the paycheck to paycheck cycle with no hope of making your dreams come true? In “That Tool Called Money”, Tiana equips families with a step-by-step plan to discover and create the lifestyle that they have only dreamed about. Grab your copy at https://www.tianabclewis.com/book
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