Within the Bible, many words that we think of in one way mean another, but most seeming discrepancies — as opposed to being the result of deceit, manipulation, or dis-ingenuousness — can be reasonably addressed and understood. Take the word “rich” for example.
I am confident that we’re all pretty familiar with the primary meaning of the word “rich” —
Lots and lots of money — as much money, actually, as the average person deals with in paperwork. When a person says, “I want to be rich,” we envision cars, big houses, trips to tropical islands, ownership of the aforementioned tropical islands, and the ability to hire a team of secretaries to handle all of the paperwork.
That latter — someone to take care of the paperwork, would be nice indeed.
But this interpretation of rich — as materially pleasing as it seems — weakens us when we make it the priority in our lives. In seeking the world’s definition of wealth, we necessarily abandon seeking God’s version, because while a person can be rich and a Christian, the true riches of Christianity have nothing to do with money.
Please follow the link to Rich Christian, Poor Christian — Which Are You? at my Commonsense Christianity column at BeliefNet.