Who among us wouldn’t enjoy a little bit more money? And yet when we come across people who have that little bit more, it can be far too easy for our hearts to whisper things like, “Well that’s not how I would use the money,” and “They could definitely be more generous,” and “If I were them I would…”But is this how God thinks about rich people?
He Loves Them
One truth we see in the Bible is that God loves rich people. Now, I am not saying God loves rich people more than poor people or that God loves rich people and not poor people. I’m just saying, he loves them!
The book of Daniel confronted me with this recently. If you remember the context, God’s people were taken from their homeland by a foreign king named Nebuchadnezzar. And they find themselves exiled in Babylon, not a place known for it’s biblical worldview.
But amidst the exile, God continued to make himself known in miraculous ways to these rich pagan kings. First Nebuchadnezzar, then Belshazzar, and finally Darius. It would be easy to think, “God doesn’t care about these guys. They don’t even believe in him.” But over and over we find that God positions his people to point these kings towards him.
Where God Hangs Out
Let me ask you, where in the world right now could you think, “Surely, God would not hang out there?” North Korea, Syria, Yemen? A few thousand years ago we would have said Babylon.
And yet in this beautiful behind-the-scenes memoir Daniel, subtitled, “Counselor to Kings Tells All” the storyline is that God loves these kings and meets them right where they’re at… in Babylon. They’re rich, they’re powerful, they don’t even know God. Yes, yes, yes… and God loves them.
Why? Because they too are image bearers of God, created in his likeness, made after his kind. He knit them together in their mother’s womb. His eyes saw their unformed substance. He knew the number of hairs on their heads. He saw when they sat down and rose up. Before a word was on their tongues, behold, he knew it all. And looking on them, he loved them as people he had made.
What we see in Daniel points forward to what we find in Jesus. Do you remember how Jesus treated the rich young ruler? This guy was a religious, successful young man who approached Jesus with a question, and the Bible says, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him” (Mark 10:21).
Way Too Important
But I’m afraid many of us are not very much like Jesus. We don’t love rich people. We envy them. We covet what they have. We compare ourselves to them. We favor them. We try to guess at their net worth. We hope some of it comes to us someday.
Or we despise them. We assume their money came from some kind of compromise. We feel morally and spiritually superior to them. We don’t befriend them. We avoid them. We’re not ourselves around them, we change.
All of these are signs that we’ve made money way too important and forgotten that rich people are people just like us, just like everyone, made in the image of God.
God, would you forgive me for the sinful attitudes of my heart. I am not like you, but I want to be. Please change me to care more about who people are on the inside than what’s on the outside. Guard my heart from the many temptations tied to money. Make me like Daniel who valued you more than the comforts and luxuries of Babylon. Make me like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who knew your worth and refused to bow down to money, even when everyone else did. May you God be my truest and deepest treasure and help me to believe more earnestly that you have looked upon me with love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.