“There have been times when God’s sore displeasure has been shown against those who demonstrate extreme, unrestrained excess in the midst of their abundance,” writes Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs in Contentment, Prosperity, and God’s Glory. When is this true? When does a wealthy person increase his guilt by sinning in, and with, his abundance? Burroughs presents 8 conditions:
- When you abuse your wealth in light of the suffering of others.
- When you abuse your wealth after God has raised you up from a poorer condition.
- When you abuse your wealth after God has preserved your riches through difficult times.
- When you abuse your wealth while ignoring the prodding of your conscience.
- If you are abusing mercies that were previously taken away, but have now been restored to you.
- If you are using your wealth for selfishness rather than service.
- If you forget previous promises you made to God when your wealth was threatened.
- When you ignore the means of grace to help you honor God with your wealth.
Burroughs concludes, “Let those of you who abound, therefore, take heed of this.”
The Scriptures never condemn wealth, but they do contain ample warnings against wealth stealing our heart’s affections and steeling our hearts against those in need. Think on just a few:
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. [1 Timothy 6:17-19]
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? [1 John 3:17]