Christians are deeply affected by the tone of our wider society today, in all sorts of ways. One of these is an unhealthy obsession with money. We're deluged with images of wealth on the internet and on our TV screens. Celebrities seem to live lives we can only dream of, all made possible by money. If we aren't careful, we can let the green-eyed monster into our living rooms at the press of a button. There's a programme on houses, or holidays, or an advert for cars or kitchens – and all far, far beyond our reach.
The Bible is very realistic about wealth. It doesn't denigrate it – in fact in the Old Testament wealth is seen as a blessing. Wealth gives us the ability to enjoy good things. It brings freedom from some kinds of worry, at least. But neither does Scripture ever encourage people to want to become rich, and it's always clear that wealth brings responsibilities.
'Prosperity preachers' who claim God wants people to be rich haven't read their Bibles carefully and lead people badly astray. God has never made all his people rich. The Bible is always clear that wealth is never to be sought for its own ends, and that we are always accountable to God for how we use it.
Here are 10 Bible verses about wealth.
1. "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today." (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
2. "The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts." (1 Samuel 2:7)
3. "Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all." (1 Chronicles 29:12)
4. "Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked." (Psalm 37:16)
5. "Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops." (Proverbs 3:9)
6. "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth." (Proverbs 10:4)
7. "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
8. "Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God." (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
9. "At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth." (Mark 10:22, of the rich young ruler)
10. "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Revelation 3:17)
Follow Mark Woods on Twitter: @RevMarkWoods