How Come All Christians Are Not Multi-Millionaires?


Years ago, there was in an article in the old Good News magazine by the old Worldwide Church of God that had the question “Why Not Millionaires?

It started about by saying that Job asked an age old question:

7 Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power? (Job 21:7)

Job then added some more details:

8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them. (Job 21:8-9a)

13 They spend their days in wealth, And in a moment go down to the grave. 14 Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’ 16 Indeed their prosperity is not in their hand; (Job 21:13-16a)

The article mentioned that Jeremiah asked/complained about the same thing:

1 Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; They grow, yes, they bear fruit.You are near in their mouth But far from their mind.

3 But You, O Lord, know me; You have seen me, And You have tested my heart toward You. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, And prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long will the land mourn, And the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, For the wickedness of those who dwell there, Because they said, “He will not see our final end.” (Jeremiah 12:1-4)

They were not the only ones recorded about that in the Bible. Notice the following from the Book of Psalms:

1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. 11 And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. (Psalm 73:1-14)

In the Book of Job, his “three friends” thought that the righteous would basically always blessed and never suffer. They believe the wicked always suffer and never receive good things. But is this true?

Notice what Eliphaz the Temanite said to Job:

20 The wicked man writhes with pain all his days, And the number of years is hidden from the oppressor. 21 Dreadful sounds are in his ears; In prosperity the destroyer comes upon him. (Job 15:20-21)

Well, that certainly was not the observation of Job, Jeremiah, or the Psalmist.

But remember that God is holding His people to a different standard. And unlike the others, Christians are being judged in this age:

17 or the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

Some have wondered, “Why shouldn’t all of God’s people be multi-millionaires?”

God’s people pay tithes and offerings. So why shouldn’t they be multi-millionaires with more than people could want?

Isn’t that consistent with biblical statements like those found in Malachi 3?

Before going further, let’s look at some of what the old Good News magazine article asked and provided some answers to:

Why are not all the others — the wicked — who withhold God’s tithes cursed beyond belief? Why aren’t the other people of the world living in squalor, poverty, filth? But instead, we see many millions of people in the United States and Great Britain — and in other countries — who have prospered and are well off financially. They live in mansions, castles, luxurious surroundings. Why?

The answer is explained in Ecclesiastes 8:12. “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.” Notice here that people can do evil many times and still have their days, prosperity, good times prolonged. That is, they do not always suffer a drastic penalty immediately.

What Would Happen?

What would happen if God blessed all of His people fantastically? If He cursed those who did not tithe until they were living in squalor, poverty, filth? Let’s suppose this happened and see what the result would be.

You drive your brand new Cadillac to your spacious, luxurious home. Your sink faucets are overlaid with gold. The finest Persian rugs cover the strongly supported floors throughout your home. Your decorations are fabulous. Chandeliers dazzling. You live on a large lot with beautiful trees, and green grass dotted with fragrant flowers. At one end you have a garden. Your garden is loaded with produce. Tomatoes hang on the plants. Big tomatoes.

You go outside, look over your garden, smile pleasantly and go back in. You notice your neighbor’s garden is not doing well. His house is run down, shabby. His children live in squalor and filth. His garden is wilted, shriveled up. Weeds are growing all over his lawn. You look across the fence and hardly believe your eyes. You have God’s blessings and he the curses.

One day over the fence he asks you why you enjoy all these wonderful financial blessings. He asks why he and his family have to live in such squalor. He wants to know your secret.

You tell him there is no secret. You explain God’s financial law of tithing. You tell him to send ten percent of his earnings into God’s Headquarters for the Work of God. He is skeptical at first. But you urge him.

Finally he gives in and reluctantly agrees to try tithing.

A month later you notice a fantastic difference. His crops grow and bear fruit. You see him purchase new appliances and repair his house. His children are dressed better. Soon he remodels the entire house and builds on extra rooms. You realize that he has also received God’s great blessings. Now the two of you stand as a stark contrast to all the other neighbors.

Well, brethren, you can see what would happen. All others in the neighborhood would inquire, Soon everyone would want to tithe.

Why? Because they believe God’s Law?

No! BECAUSE THEY WANT FINANCIAL PROSPERITY! They would do it for selfishness. If this incident were true the entire world would tithe.

But God wants people who really believe. God wants us to come to know His way is right! We must want God’s way more than anything else. And we must stick with it regardless of the physical circumstances around us.

Now notice Eccl. 8:14. “There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.”

Notice that not everyone is IMMEDIATELY rewarded for righteousness. God first wants to know that we really believe His way. That we will remain righteous regardless of calamities, trials, hardships. (Antion D. Why Do Good Men Suffer? Good News, September-October 1968)

But it is more than that.

Most people could not spiritually handle being a multi-millionaire. We know that many who win the larger lottery drawings are often unhappy and actually wish they never won (see The ‘curse’ of winning the lottery?).

Now let’s look at Malachi 3:

8 “Will a man rob God?  Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,”Says the Lord of hosts,”If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8-10)

People who turn bitter against tithing will tend to say something to the effect that they tithed and did not become financially blessed for doing so.

Sometimes it is spiritual blessings that God pours out–and that takes faith.

It would not take faith that God knows what is best for someone, if every person became the equivalent of a multi-millionaire a year or so after they started tithe.

Furthermore, Christians should consider that many cannot necessarily handle large amounts of wealth in this age.

Consider the following from Agur in the Book of Proverbs:

8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches —
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)

God had to warn the children of Israel about wealth:

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest — when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; (Deuteronomy 8:11-13)

17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ (Deuteronomy 8:17)

It is NOT that wealth is bad.

God is wealthy. People like Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David were wealthy. But apparently, God felt they could handle that.

But not all can.

Solomon had problems his wealth allowed for (cf. 1 Kings 11:1-4). But in his older days he was wise enough to observe:

10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes? (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)

13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:
Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. (Ecclesiastes 5:13)

24 For riches are not forever, … (Proverbs 27:24)

Many lottery winners can attest to these things.

As far as Christians go, consider that the New Testament teaches:

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

There are numerous reasons that only a few Christians are multimillionaires.

One that James wrote about is that the motivation for many is wrong:

2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3)

1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. (James 5:1-3)

Of yes, many will tell themselves that they want more in order to give more–and hopefully that is the case, but James was indicating that selfishness was behind why many want wealth.

Solomon also wrote:

4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)

28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. (Proverbs 11:28)

So, righteousness is what Christians should strive for (cf. Psalm 119:172; for more on righteousness, check out the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Back to the New Testament, we see that James also wrote:

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. (James 1:9-11)

There have been problems that wealthy people in the old Worldwide Church of God had that I saw over the years.

Let’s look at something the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy:

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

So, a big reason that most Christians are not multimillionaires is because a strong desire for wealth has led people away from the faith.

Also, people have a tendency to put faith in riches. Continuing, let’s look more at what Paul wrote Timothy:

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Jesus warned about those who trusted in riches:

24 “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” (Mark 10:24-25)

Trusting in riches can be an impediment to faith.

In a radio broadcast, the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong said:

And if you lack the wisdom to know, God says, ask Him and He will give you wisdom and He will open your mind to see if you will throw yourself on His mercy and come to Him and if you will be willing when He opens the Truth to your mind.

“Oh that men would praise the [ETERNAL] for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” {Psalm 107:8}Does that sound like the so-called God of the Old Testament that’s so harsh and so unkind and unjust that wants to make you suffer? I was reading that out of the Old Testament, that is the God of the Old Testament. Yes, oh, that men would praise Him for his goodness, and his mercy to the children of men.

Well, why don’t you have faith? If you had faith, my friends, you could get rid of these fears and worries; you could find a way to the solution of all your troubles.

Listen, if you were a multi-millionaire and you could buy something, someone could come around and sell you something, a policy, or something, perhaps some kind of a service, so that in every problem you come into, no matter what, you could just simply be shown the way out. In whatever trouble you would get into, here would come a force and a power of man that would deliver you and get you out. Here would be a great organization, they would come to your aid, they have billions of dollars and they would have the power, they would bring about whatever is necessary, spend whatever amount of money is necessary to deliver you. If you’re sick, well, they have enough money they can have the best specialists and the best treatment and everything and so good and such specialists as you never heard of in just…and just get you out of all your sickness and trouble just almost as quick as you can call on them to do it. How much would you pay if you were a multi-millionaire, if you could get that kind of service so that no matter what you do, you would have the guidance to do the right thing, and whenever any troubles come of any kind or anything out of your control, you would be delivered and you’d have every force and power. You know you can have that? God offers that to everybody that will come to Him and will obey Him and will rely on Him, that will live by every Word of God, that will search Him out in the Bible which is His Word, that will live by every Word of God and that will really obey God and trust Him because when you obey God you’re only doing those things that bring about that very condition. That is the thing that will make God happy. God is happy when He sees you and me happy. He loves to make us happy.

Listen, a lot of you don’t even know what faith is. What is faith anyhow? And why don’t you have enough faith, why don’t you get answers to your prayers when you pray? Why is it you pray and sometimes pray and pray but it just seems that God didn’t answer? Do you know why? Why don’t you write in for our booklet … (Armstrong HW. Why Wars and Suffering? Broadcast Date: June 14, 1979)

While you cannot write in for the old WCG faith booklet, our booklet on faith is available free online: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

The Apostle John wrote:

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

And God does want us to prosper and be in health–but more importantly, your spiritual prosperity is His primary objective.

Consider that the New Testament shows that Peter, and, very likely John, did not have wealth:

2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:2-7)

Consider also that even the Apostle Paul had health problems to ensure he was not derailed from the Kingdom of God:

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Paul had faith, but God understood what was best for him.

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

It is not good for all Christians to be multi-millionaires.

Furthermore, consider that the Apostle Paul wrote:

6 he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)

If having wealth will assist, God will provide it.

Anyway, the basic reason that all faithful tithe-paying Christians are not multi-millionaires is because it is not in their best interest.

The Continuing Church of God also has this related sermonette from its ContinuingCOG channel:

23:36

Why Aren’t All Christians Multi-Millionaires?

In Malachi 3, God promises great blessings for those who pay their tithes and give offerings. So, why aren’t all real Christians who do so not multi-millionaires? Did Job and Jeremiah wonder why some of wicked were prosperous? Did the Apostle Peter have much silver or gold? Are winners of massive lottery prizes happier than before they won? What would happen if God provided massive financial prosperity to those who tithed? Does faith have anything to do with this? Would all real Christians benefit from vast amounts of monetary wealth? Does God want Christians to prosper and be in health? If so, why are there financial and health problems? Is the love of money a root of any kind of evil? What does God want from you? Are some blessings spiritual? Dr. Thiel answers these questions.

Here is a link to the related sermonette: Why Aren’t All Christians Multi-Millionaires?

Some items of related interest may include:

Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Tithing Questions and Some Answers Answers questions about tithing and also addresses some non-biblical arguments against tithing. Should people tithe?Here is a link to a related sermon: Tithes and Tithing. Here is a link to an older sermon: Tithing Answers from the Bible.
Ending Your FINANCIAL WORRIES How can people help themselves and others financially? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. A video of related interest would be: Dealing With Financial Worries.
Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? What does the Bible reveal? A related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin?
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.