16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
Psalm 37:16 (NLT)
Welcome to the eighth installment on my study of Psalm 37. This time we have reached another favorite verse of the religious people. Psalm 37:16 says it is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. Those who are religious or don’t know the Bible will misinterpret this verse as saying that God wants us poor. However the truth is the opposite. God is the one who wants us rich. He is so serious about us getting rich that he even sent Jesus to die poor at the Cross, to make us rich.
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT)
Therefore, the idea of God wanting us to be poor should be rejected by now because it is not in accordance with the truth of the Bible. It is the will of God for his people to be rich in every area of their lives. While I do agree that not all the rich people are generous but I can be sure of one thing: Anyone who does not want to be rich is definitely selfish. Religious people may glorify them but that does not change the truth.
When you say you don’t want to have more money, you are basically saying that you don’t want to help others. There are millions of people suffering in this world today from hunger, lack of basic medical care, lack of clean water and sanitation. While money cannot solve every problem, it can solve many of them. Having money can help to provide food, medicines and basic infrastructures to many people who need them. Therefore, while being poor is not a sin, wanting to be poor is definitely a sin of selfishness.
The true meaning of Psalm 37:16 is being godly is more important than being rich. God is not comparing the good and the bad. He is comparing two good things. While godliness and riches are both good things God wants us to have, godliness is far greater than riches. Why is that so? When we are godly, we have access to all the riches God wants us to have. However, if we have riches it does not necessary means we have godliness. Godliness includes riches but riches do not include godliness because godliness is greater than riches.
If you still don’t understand this, let me give you an example. Which will you choose to have? Would you rather have Santa Clause or his presents? When you have the presents, you have the presents. That is all you can get. However, if you have the person of Santa Claus, you will have unlimited supply of presents in your life. Therefore the equivalent of Psalm 37:16 is, it is better to have Santa Claus and a little presents than not to have him and have a lot of presents.
In conclusion, God wants us to focus on godliness and not on the riches. God’s way for our riches is to seek his kingdom first and all other things like riches will be added to us. This means we need to spend time with him, which include reading the Bible, meditating and confessing his Word, listening to faith messages and pray. When you are in position to make choices, choose the alternative that reflects godliness even if it will result in having lesser money. As long as you have godliness in you, it is only a matter of time that you will have great riches.