Poverty, Wealth, Greed & Occupy Wall Street Protests

Rarely do I share concerning politics but this message will out of necessity seem political even though my goal is to simply share that which the Bible has to say.

Over the last several weeks protests across the United States and many other countries have been held in what has been called the “Occupy” movement.  Men, women and students have gathered to demonstrate their disapproval and dissatisfaction with “corporate greed” and are rallying for “reform” and “equality”.

How can any follower of Christ not want an end to come to corruption and greed?  There is no way to skirt the issue; many corporations and governments operate with a degree of corruption and greed. Corporations and governments are not evil, greedy or corrupt. The people who lead and comprise these entities are those who make the decisions that are corrupt.

The answer to the problems that plague our culture is found in a familiar statement, “the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.” We cannot expect men and women who have not been changed by the Holy Spirit through the power of redemption to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in all they do.

I am writing this message because the so-called “capitalists” nations of the west are beginning to flirt more and more with socialist and even Marxist ideals and many of those who are doing so are “Christians”.

The concepts of redistributed wealth and financial equality mandated through legislative reform are some of the greatest disasters of the 20th Century. The youth of the 21st Century seem to be ready to embrace these concepts as a wave of peaceful demonstrations and protests move through our cities and nations. This is a season in our nations that must be navigated extremely carefully.

The economy has been challenging for many people over the last several years.  This has left millions with a lower standard of living, causing them to feel frustrated, despondent and angry over their personal financial forecast. The central complaint of protesters seems to be centered on the wealth of the top 1% of earners in the world.  The top 1% of the American population controls about 40% of the total wealth of the nation and the top 20% of workers earn about 80% of the household income in the United States.

It is a mathematical probability that you are in the bottom 80% of income earners in the United States. You and I will have to work hard, earn a living, plan for retirement and believe that God will honor His covenant with us.

Protest those things that your heart convicts you is sin but above all things obey the Word of God. What does the Bible have to say concerning our work, our income and our financial prospects on life?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

Yet 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. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 NLT)

As followers of Jesus Christ all those who able to work are to do so; earning a living so that they can provide for themselves, their families, the work of the ministry and those who are in need. Christians should be working, making a positive impact in society, leading the way in all areas of life. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. All that we do is a reflection of Jesus Christ.

We are the servants who when given 5 pounds work to double our Master’s deposit so that we may return to Him 10 pounds (Luke 19:11-27).

We are the followers of Christ who believe Deuteronomy 8:18, “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

We are not working to produce wealth to heap treasures and luxuries upon ourselves.  We work to produce wealth so that we may see the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached throughout the world. We work to produce wealth so that the hungry may be fed, so that orphans may be cared for and so that the needs of the helpless and hopeless may be met.

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15 NLT)


Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

It is never a popular message but it is true to say that faith comes by hearing and money comes by working. We will all earn at different levels because we perform different functions and solve different problems.  Mike Murdock says, “The size of your paycheck is determined by the size of the problems you solve.” I earn more money than some people because the work that I do is of greater value and solves greater problems. I earn less money than many other people because the work that they do is of greater value and solves greater problems.

As followers of Christ we cannot let jealousy, envy, covetousness and greed overtake our hearts because we do not earn the salary of a Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officer. This also does not mean we need condone unethical or immoral practices committed in the name of profit.  The Apostle Paul gives this advice:

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT)

John Avanzini said, “Money is neither good nor evil, it merely takes on the personality of the one who possesses it.” Money is a tool in our hands, earned by our labor, to accomplish good things in and through our lives.

There is great frustration in the world over the oppression of the poor and the greed of the wealthy. People have constantly argued and fought over money and they will continue to do so. As followers of Christ we must have a biblical worldview; our perspective on money and wealth must come from heaven.

Here is the promise of Jesus Christ:

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38 NLT)

God desires that we become a redistribution center for His kingdom. He wants to develop our lives into a continuous spring of abundance from which he can feed hungry people, clothe naked people, visit prisoners, mend broken hearts and send His great salvation message to every corner of the earth.

So… If you are frustrated with Wall Street and failed government policies I understand.  However, I wrote this message to remind you that as a follower of Christ you belong to a different Kingdom and in this Kingdom we work to glorify Jesus Christ and not ourselves.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17 NLT)

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