Is It Wrong to Want to Make Lots of Money?

A soon-to-be-graduate asked:

I really want a career that not only glorifies God but also gives me financial security. Am I wrong?

I think the answer depends on two things:

1) her definition of financial security, and
2) her motivation for wanting financial security.

By “financially secure,” does she mean that she will have enough to cover her expenses and bless others in need? Because that’s wise. We know from God’s Word:

It is important to work hard and earn your own living so you won’t be a burden to others.

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living (2 Thess. 3:11–12).

We are to honor God with our money.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine (Prov. 3:9–10).

It is good to have enough money to share with others.

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Eph. 4:28).

We should be prepared to provide for our close relatives if necessary. (FYI, the context of the following verse is caring for widows in your family.)

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8).

So if by “financially secure,” this girl means she will have enough to cover her expenses and bless others in need, that’s wonderful!

But I don’t know her heart. She could be asking, “Is it wrong to want enough money so I can have a closet full of expensive clothes and drive a fancy convertible into the garage of my luxury home?”

Is she wanting to never have any financial needs that she might have to trust God to meet? If this is the case, God’s Word warns:

Riches are anything but secure; they are uncertain.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17).

Riches are deceitful and can choke out God’s Word.

“They . . . hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:18–19).

If you trust in riches, it’ll trip you up.

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf (Prov. 11:28).

Trusting in God, who cannot be moved, is so much more secure than trusting in riches that can be stolen or decrease in value.

There are temptations that come with both poverty and riches.

Give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
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 (Prov. 30:8–9).

What a great prayer to pray! Will you pray it with me?

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me.”

So what does this mean as you search for a career? Ask yourself:

Would this amount of money allow me . . .

  • To honor God first?
  • Not to be a burden to others?
  • The freedom to share with those in need?

If so, it’s enough money.

How about you? How much money do you hope to make, and what’s your motivation?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

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  • mantebaleng

    greeting in the wonderful name of our lord Christ Jesus..
    this article is very helpful. after i graduated the only thing i wanted was to have lots of money. to buy myself a fancy car, live in my own fancy apartment, have a wardrobe full of everything but now i realise my desire for riches have been wrong all this time and the are not pleasing to God. thank you so much for this article.

  • Amber

    I was asked once if I ever wanted to earn millions and I can honestly say I don’t. If I did have a lot of money, I think, knowing me, I would spend it on worldly things and not on heavenly things. I would like to make enough money so that I can go to places where their medical need is not met and then, with whatever the Lord blesses me with, I can bless others with too.

  • Funmi ✞

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post and I definitely agree with the 3 concluding points. I especially liked how you based everything on scripture ( keeping context in mind too) Thanks so much. I found this totally relevant and helpful.

  • Christ Believer

    This is sort of unrelated, but where is the search bar at the top of the screen? Sometimes I would use it to look at old posts.

  • Grace M.

    This article was a good reminder to keep my perspective when it comes to earthly wealth. I go to a public school where many students are type-a people; conversation revolves around college and grades and getting good jobs where you can get rich. My goals for my life are completely based around my gifts and talents and what I enjoy doing, none of which is a traditionally “prestigious” line of work (I want to be a teacher, write books, etc.). Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if I should be aiming for jobs that will gain me more money and fame, so this article really reinforced the fact that using our talents for God is what really matters, NOT how much money we make in our jobs. Thanks!

    -Grace (trueandpure.wordpress.com)

  • Allison

    Love this! I just got my first job, and was really not wanting my paychecks to get in the way of trusting God or needing Him. This came at a great time!

    • I’m so glad, Allison. Congrats on your first job! What are you doing?

      • Allison

        I am working at Chickfila! I am 16 and it’s my first part-time job. I am saving up for a phone and car, and didn’t want the idea of having more money than I’ve had before get in the way of trusting God. I don’t want material things to get in between me and my relationship with God!

        • What a great company to work for, Allison!

          Lord, may Allison’s car and phone be used only for good, and not for evil.