The Morality of Work and Wealth

Looking at the subject of wealth there are three questions we need to answer. Is it immoral to be wealthy? Is it unjust that some people have more wealth than others? What moral limits are there on how a person can gain wealth?

Some people wrongly believe that being wealthy is immoral. Wealth in most cases is the fruits of ones own labor. People work hard to obtain it. People say that money is the root of all evil, but this is wrong. The love of money is the root of all evil. In other words if you are willing to bend the rules to get as much money as you can, then that is wrong. Wealth in and of itself isn’t  bad. The more wealth you have the more you can invest in businesses, donate to charities, help the needy, buy gifts, and necessary items. The Bible says in Genesis 13:2,”Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Nowhere in the Bible does God say Abraham was immoral because of his wealth. In fact in James 2:23  It calls Abraham the Friend of God.

People do tend to look with envy on others who are wealthier, however their envy should not make it unjust for others to be wealthier. Some people are lazy and others are hard workers. We should not penalize the hard-working people from making more money. People who believe it is unjust that others have more wealth, usually advocate for a federal welfare state. The purpose of a federal welfare state is to equalize wealth which is socialistic and unjust. This discourages work and leads to poverty. When the pilgrims came to America they were using the welfare state model, in other words all the food gathered was to be equally divided among themselves. After one year half of the pilgrims died. The next year nothing changed and during the winter half of the remaining pilgrims died. The pilgrims wouldn’t survive another year so William Bradford called a meeting to determine what should be done. They turned to the Bible to look for an answer. They found this; 2 Thessalonians 3:10b, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. The next year Governor Bradford gave each family a plot of land to grow food, no more equal redistribution of food. Every one had to work or else they wouldn’t have any food for the winter. That fall they had such a bountiful harvest, that they had a feast to give thanks to the Lord. There is nothing unjust about someone having more wealth than others.

We live in an unjust world and there are people who do gain their wealth through unjust means. Morality comes from the Bible and in Deuteronomy 5:17-20 it states Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. If a person gains his wealth by breaking these commandments, this is ill-gotten wealth. These are moral limits a person should never cross. Not all wealthy people gain their riches through unjust means. Most wealthy people are hard-working, entrepreneurial, frugal, and deserving of their wealth.

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