Does God want you to be rich?
That’s a question – like most related to religion – that doesn’t come with a simple answer. So what about the question, does God bless entrepreneurs? Does having a religious background and faith in God aid the budding entrepreneur?
Most of the time the main goal of an entrepreneur is to in the end, strike it rich. Of course they may also want to change the world for the better, solve some of the world’s most trying problems, and make a difference in people’s lives, but let’s face it . . . they want to make money in the process.
Quotes from the Bible can lead the seeker of an answer to this trying question in multiple directions. Jesus Christ said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:24). And, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:19-20).
Those statements may lead one to believe that being rich shouldn’t be the goal of one who claims to have an ernest desire to please God. However there are others that may relay quite the opposite.
In Deuteronomy, believers are commanded to, “remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”(Deut 8:18). The Old Testament is full of references like this, praising God for providing a good life. If one chooses to place more emphasis on these references, and to understand Christ’s statements not as a condemnation of being wealthy but as a warning as to the possible consequences of having wealth, then it is quite possible that God would bless the faithful entrepreneur.
There are many that prescribe to the belief that God wants his people to be prosperous. It has been deemed the “Prosperity” belief in the U.S. and mega-churches like famous preacher Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church in Houston, Texas preach it each and every Sunday to large audiences. The idea that doing good will in turn bring goodness into your life, even monetarily, is one that seems to be attractive to many Americans.
However there are other pastors like Rick Warren, author of, The Purpose Driven Life, that don’t agree with the idea that God rewards his followers with wealth and prosperity.
In a Time Magazine article in 2006 Warren said, “You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?”
There seems to be a hint of irony in the fact that the pastors that are arguing about whether God rewards his followers in a way that can be measured on this earth have both sold millions of books and are wealthy entrepreneurs themselves.
In reality, entrepreneurship isn’t all that different from evangelism. It occurs when somebody is totally committed to bringing a vision into reality, even if their vision doesn’t reflect the norms of society. The entrepreneur and the evangelist believe that they have something that everyone else needs, even if everyone else doesn’t know they need it yet.
In an essay on self-reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense, for always the inmost becomes the outmost, and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the last judgements.”
So, does God bless entrepreneurs? Does God want you to be rich?
That’s one thing you’re going to have to decide for yourself. However, if entrepreneurship and evangelism go hand in hand, this entrepreneur may just pick up his Bible a little more often . . . It can’t hurt, right?