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« Something Money Doesn't Buy: Life | Main | How to Balance Risk and Return in Your Portfolio Asset Allocation »

April 22, 2007


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I've heard people say things like, "but you're not SUPPOSED to live on minimum wage" or "minimum wage was never designed to provide enough to support an adult."

So it seems fair to ask, how does anyone expect someone earning minimum wage to live below their means? Is that not unrealistic?

The hope is that you will not always be earning minimum wage-i know that it is difficult to save when you are earning minimum wage but don't be content to only earn minimum wage-strive to gain skills that will allow you to earn more.There are government programs to allow someone in that income bracket to get job training.

I totally agree with you on this post. I've been reading through Proverbs lately, highlighting every verse that deals with finances--tons of great advice!

There is no internal advancement path and not much in the way of on-the-job skills to be learned. I have no money and can't pay for education or training and for some reason they always insist on getting their money up front. And as a baby boomer I may very well be chronologically over the hill (in the perspective of employers) and no longeremployable.

This one has me puzzled. The Old Testament is rather capitalistic, but the New Testament is more like european socialism.

Not to start a religious debate, but I don't believe 1) that the bible wants you to do anything itself, 2) that many religions (at least Catholicism) want you to be rich, 3) that the New Testament wants you to be rich:

Isn't greed one of the seven deadly sins?

And here's a few passages I recall offhand:

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19)

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12)

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (Tim 6)

Catholicism has St. Francis of Assisi, who gave away his myriad of possessions and lived in nature as a monk.

Interesting questions. I'll address them in more detail in a later post, but here are a few thoughts for now:

1. It all boils down to attitude. Having an attitude of greed is not a correct attitude. But if you seek to grow wealthy so that you can provide for yourself and help others (give), then your attitude is in alignment with the Bible.

2. I'm not speaking for/defending/an expert on any religion (such as Catholicism.) I write about what the Bible says on money -- not the various takes on it from different denominations.

3. St. Francis of Assisi may very well have given away everything he owned. There are also wealthy individuals who have build hospitals, orphanges, and the like. They used their wealth for good. Is this wrong?

4. The examples from scripture you used above need to be taken in context of the parts of the Bible they are found in as well as in the context of the Bible as a whole. You can't pluck out verses here and there and be certain they are saying what it appears they are saying without considering context.

5. In the book "Money, Possessions, and Eternity" (a great book on Biblical finances, he talks about the two (wrong) extreme views on the Bible and money. The first is greed to an excess -- where a person wants more and more to spend on himself. The second is the view that all Christians should be poor and give away everything they own. Neither is correct. You can do either of them and be correct as long as your attitude is right, but to say either of them applies universally to all Christians is incorrect.

I agree context is important. But, as you know, the content and context is something just about every single christian religion disagrees on. I was brought up in Catholicism. Went to religious school the whole way though. The message from the priests and the sisters was clear - excessive focus on money is wrong. I joined a protestant denomination - their the message was clear too - support yourself and your family, but don't focus on greed. Focus on helping others if you have more than you need.

This seems NOT to be the case with the mega-churches nowadays. They preach loud that GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH, much richer than the non-believer, even richer than those other denominations. In fact, the richer you are, the more God has favored you for doing what he wants. In my experience, this is a new message. I don't understand it, and I don't like it.

Could those hospitals and universities have been built, perhaps in a more efficient way, if the wealthy man wasn't wealthy? I believe so. Maybe he wouldn't have made 700x the average employee's salary. Perhaps then the money would have been distributed in a more equitable fashion and the people would have collectively spent it on the hospital. And perhaps then the focus of the hospital would have been on the worker bees that paid for it. In affect, the greed of the CEO who's making megabucks, and the corporate board that approves the salaries, amounts to a tax on a capitalistic society.

(Whew, who knew I had that bottled up?)

Wow. That is a lot of "stuff" to deal with. ;-)

For me, attitude is the key. If someone is greedy and out to get rich, that is not a position advocated by the Bible. However, if they simply follow the financial advice in the Bible I note above, they won't be able to help it -- they'll get rich. Then, if they keep following the Bible, they'll use their wealth (not all of it, but a good amount) to help others.

God advices people to be financially wise and I agree people should follow what God says regarding financial management as written in the bible..Let the money work for you.

JESUS IS KING OF KINGS not POOR...He came to rescue the poor people.Poverty is a curse and Gd want you to be blessed.

Matthew 19:23-24 (King James Version) says:

23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I don't think the intent of the bible is to make anyone rich. Let's keep everything in context and make sure we're not setting people up for failure. If we tell people that the bible will make them rich, what happens when they are doing what the bible says but they still don't become rich? Do they get disheartened with the Word or with God and leave the church? We have to make sure that we aren't telling people that wealth is a mark of God's blessings because salvation can't be bought!

DM --

1. I didn't say that the Bible promises to make them rich, I said it will make them rich.

2. How? If they apply the principles of the Bible, they WILL become rich -- there's no "what if they don't". How can I say this? It's simple math. Do those things I list above for a long time and you will become wealthy.

3. Any idea what Matthew 19:25-26 says? People who quote the verses you do seem to always leave the 25 and 26 out of the quote. Wonder why that is?


There are two ways to be rich! One is to have everything you could want...The other is to be content with what you have!!

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