The Question Is Not “Are You Rich or Poor” but “Are You Godly or Ungodly?”

The Question Is Not “Are You Rich or Poor” but “Are You Godly or Ungodly?”

Nehemiah 5:14 – Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor.

The problem in western culture is that our thinking about wealth is driven more by atheistic Marxism than the Bible. We are wrongly told there are two kinds of people – rich and poor – and that rich people are bad because they take advantage of poor people who are good. The Bible, however, gives us four kinds of people, not two, as we see in Nehemiah 5.

Category #1

Godly Rich

God blesses, they worked hard, tithe to God, invest smart, and are generous to others. (e.g. Abraham, Joseph of Arimathea, Nehemiah)

Category #3

Ungodly Rich

Gain and spend wealth sinfully (e.g. Pharaoh, Judas, rich young ruler, overtaxing government and people charging excessive interest in Nehemiah 5)

Category #2

Godly Poor

Hard working integrous people who are good stewards (e.g. Jesus, the widow who gave her mite, orphaned children, and the poor in Nehemiah 5)

Category #4

Ungodly Poor

Do not work, spend wisely, tithe generously, or invest smartly (e.g. the sluggards and poor in Proverbs)

Sadly, our culture has tended to look only at issues of poverty and wealth rather than godliness and ungodliness as Scripture does. In Nehemiah 5, the crisis is between the ungodly rich and the godly poor, with Nehemiah who was godly and rich leading the resolution.

Of the four categories, which kind of family did you grow up in? If you are honest, which of the four categories most accurately describes your stewardship?

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Mark Driscoll
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