Wealth. Poverty. Income Inequality. Prestige. Our modern society has striven to break the tension between the rich and the poor. Yet socioeconomic status still seems to matter. How do we approach this issue biblically?
Greg Forester tackles this topic on The Gospel Coalition. He notes that despite the fact that we live in a democratic, capitalistic society that has historically valued work, we still sin.
Our modern economy allows for unprecedented disparities between the material goods that each person has. Because of our sinful natures, there is tension between those who have much and those who have less. Forester says,
Our calling to cultivate love and harmony across class divides is rooted in the image of God. All human beings are made to be in relationship with God and to represent God as stewards of the creation order. However, selfish desires lead us to seek dignity in something other than God’s image. One method is to set up your own economic class—the rich, the poor, or some other classification—as superior. Wealthy people tell themselves they must be better people because they have more money; poor people tell themselves they must be better people because they have less money.
Ultimately, Forester notes, we are made in the image of God for a specific purpose in the grand metanarrative of creation. In light of that, our material possessions seem suddenly insignificant.
Even though God cares about how we use our money, the amount of money or material goods that we have is not a reflection of our worth.
That means that we can’t let it get in the way of godly relationships. Forester says,
One of the few things that is more important than our relationship with our money is our relationship with one another. The Bible calls upon rich and poor to love one another, identify with one another, and work together as equals for the flourishing of all. In the church, this means spiritual brotherhood; in the public square, it means we love each other as neighbors and fellow citizens.
Christians can be part of that healing process, living and working to close the gap between rich and poor. While it’s true that God cares about how we use what we have, it is helpful to think of money as a tool to serve God rather than an indicator of prestige and social status.
How can we be instrumental in closing this gap rich and poor? Read Forester’s full article here.