Updated: Jun 29, 2021
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, . . .” Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV)
Do you realize that an individual who makes just $34,000 annual income is in the top 1% of the richest people in the world, and half of the world’s wealthiest individuals live in the United States?[i]
The United States of America has held the reputation of the largest economy in the world since 1871. The United States holds a 23.6% share (nearly a fourth) of the world’s economy with an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $21.44 trillion. The bottom 173 countries combined comprise less than one-fourth of the total global economy.[ii]
Why is this so? What separates America from other economies worldwide? The answer is CAPTIALISM.
Capitalism—an economic system in which private citizens invest and own the means of production and distribution, in contrast to cooperatively or state-owned means of operation—has created more wealth and opportunity worldwide than any other economic system throughout history. Capitalism has been responsible for lifting over a billion people out of poverty.[iii]
The first step to building wealth, as outlined in scripture, is to Work for It. This seems beyond obvious to many because the idea of working for a living is very natural. God designed and gifted us with the ability, desire, and capacity to work hard.
On the other hand, the idea of socialism—or the redistribution of wealth—is unnatural. From the beginning of time, individuals have benefited from hard work, self-discipline, and honesty. They have understood the need to provide for themselves and to protect their property and possessions from those looking for the “easy way out.” It’s not natural to work really hard so that the profit you make can be given to others who are lazy and do nothing.
The Apostle Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, discusses in one of his letters a problem happening in the church at Thessalonica, a city located in modern day Greece. The year was circa 51 A.D. Certain individuals had become lazy and stopped working. They depended on others in the church for support. Instead of working to provide for their own food and necessities, these people felt it was the responsibility of the local church.
Paul’s response? Those unwilling to work will not get to eat. See 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
He continues on in verses 11-12: “. . . We hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work, and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.”
Paul wasn’t trying to be cruel; he was aiming to help all members of the church thrive by being self-sufficient. He understood how devastating it could be to an organization if a few individuals carried the responsibility for many others, especially those capable of providing for themselves. He also knew that this would free up valuable resources for those who were truly in need.
God, in his sovereignty, wants us to understand how to access wealth and prosperity and avoid the pitfalls which could lead to poverty—both physical and spiritual. Join us next week as we continue this discussion.
For a further understanding of why capitalism works, please see my latest book, “The Pursuit of Liberty: Protecting our God-given Rights . . . Before it is too Late.”
References: [i] Gye, Hugo. 2020. "America IS The 1%: You Need Just $34,000 Annual Income To Be In The Global Elite... And HALF The World's Richest People Live In The U.S.," Mail Online, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082385/We-1--You-need-34k-income-global-elite--half-worlds-richest-live-U-S.html. [ii] Silver, Caleb. 2020. "The Top 20 Economies In The World," Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/insights/worlds-top-economies/#1-united-states. [iii] Fox Nation, Bair, Brett, 2020, The Unauthorized History Of Socialism, Video.