Question: We try for years to get a good paying job so we can earn well. Did Jesus say that it’s wrong to desire a lot of money?
Answer: Jesus emphasized that if you’ll put God first and focus on pleasing Him in all that you do, He will take care of the other needs that you have (Matthew 6:33). In well-known incident related by three of the Bible’s authors, Jesus told a wealthy young man to sell all that he had, give the money to the poor, and follow Him. (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18). Later, the apostle Paul wrote: “…those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown people in destruction and sin. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from faith in God in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Timothy 6:9-10)
Important point: It’s not money itself that gets you into trouble but your love of money. Paul explained that your greediness makes you put more trust in the things money buys instead of trusting God to take care of all of your needs. To pierce oneself through with many sorrows means getting into serious trouble by putting your desire for money and material possessions ahead of your desire to love, know, and obey God. Paul records in chapter 6 of first Timothy that money and possessions are significant only for this present, brief life on earth so you should wisely focus more on your relationship with God that you’ll enjoy in eternity.
Your parents may have helped you to prepare for the future by encouraging you to train for a career that will support you and your future family. God rewards you when you work diligently and consistently to fulfill your responsibilities. In adulthood, He would not want you to live in poverty as a result of laziness and have to depend on others for your food and shelter. God inspired Paul to write that those who do not work will not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
If anyone does not provide for his family, especially those in his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (I Timothy 5:8)
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. (Psalm 128:2)
Ask God to lead you to make the best choices possible for your future both spiritually and financially. The Bible says to keep your focus on what is most important: Your friendship with Jesus. He wants your heart more than anything else! That was the real message Jesus was teaching the rich young man and his friends who stood nearby. Jesus knew the choice the man would make. Sadly, he refused to part with his wealth. He missed out on the true, everlasting treasure of spending time with the King of the Universe!
…provide yourselves with a resource that does not grow old, a treasure in heaven that does not lose value, where no thief can steal it nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:33-34)