You may have heard that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have initiated a ‘giving pledge’.
They have given, and encourage other super-rich families to give, at least HALF of their fortune away to charity. Based on current net worth estimates… the 40 or so families that have signed up have pledged 125 billion dollars!!!! (abcnews.com). That’s a lot of money!!!!
I don’t know what Warren Buffett or Bill Gates believes from a faith perspective but one thing is for sure… they are living out one of Jesus’ most important teachings (from Luke 16:13):
You cannot serve God and wealth.
The most often MIS-quoted Scripture is 1 Timothy 6:10… most people think it reads:
“MONEY is the root of all kinds of evil”
What it actually reads is this:
“THE LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil,”
and it goes on to say “and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith.”
There is nothing wrong with pursuing wealth, desiring wealth, working towards wealth… as long as it never becomes the reverse: wealth pursuing, desiring, and working US! Buffett and Gates (and others) have kept first things first: thankfulness, generosity and charity… not to mention a healthy sense that ‘too much money’ in the family can actually hurt their children and grandchildren by robbing them of a sense of work ethic, drive and self-determination.
All of this is to say that ‘yep’ you cannot serve both God and wealth. We can be wealthy and serve God and we can be ‘not wealthy’ and serve God and we can be Godly and NOT serve wealth… but we can’t be Godly AND serve wealth.
This is worth thinking about and setting straight in our lives.