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The Wealth of the World

January 16, 2017
The Wealth of the World
Did you know that half of the world’s wealth is owned by just eight men?

These eight billionaires—Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helú, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg—possess as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to a 2016 study by Oxfam America. These findings were shared at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland, which is attended by global leaders and the business elite.

Paul O’ Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president for policy and campaigns, says, “It is mind-boggling that just eight men own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population.” He believes “such dramatic inequality” traps millions in poverty, fractures society, and poisons politics.

What do you think? Should we be concerned that so much wealth is in the hands of so few people? Of course, we don’t know the hearts of these wealthy eight—some give away millions to charity each year—but the Bible does offer some valuable insight. And we should pay attention. After all, in the last days, we’re told one of the signs of the end is that people will be “lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3:2).

Money can certainly be a trap that leads us to trust in the things of this world instead of in God. The apostle Paul wrote, “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 6:9, 10).

The Bible also speaks strongly against those who abuse and neglect the poor. “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord will plead their cause” (Proverbs 22:22, 23). The New Testament adds, “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17). Perhaps most important, Jesus identified Himself with the poor and praised those who generously helped others (Matthew 25:31–46).

We shouldn’t judge anyone else about their wealth, but when it comes to our own wealth in these end-times, let’s always remember Jesus’ advice: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).

Let us know how you feel about this story in the comments below. And don’t miss this insightful presentation—"A Greedy Heart”—by Pastor Doug Batchelor.
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