What does Christianity teach about wealth and poverty?

Christianity teaches that there is nothing wrong with wealth in itself. What is wrong is desiring or craving wealth. In Timothy, it states:

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…for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.1 Timothy 6:10

Many Christians believe people should use their wealth to help those who have less than they have. Humans have a duty to help each other as all are members of a global family.

Stewardship

In Genesis, God gives human beings special responsibility for creation - man is to cultivate it, guard it and use it wisely and justly. God gives Adam, the first man to be created, the responsibility of looking after the garden he created for Adam to live in.

In Genesis 9:3, God tells humanity:

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Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.Genesis 9:3

This passage means that the wealth of the Earth is for everyone to enjoy, not just Adam.

Most Christians believe that God does not intend for humans to take advantage of creation and spoil it. As stewards of creation, humans are encouraged to take care of the Earth that God has given.

The sanctity of life

Human life is sacred and special to God. It should be protected and respected. Human beings are created in the image of God:

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Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.Genesis 1:26

This implies that all humans should be treated with dignity and justice.

Compassion

Christians believe that Jesus taught his followers to love your neighbour as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39) and to do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31).

Judgement

Many Christians believe that they will be judged on whether or not they have helped the neediest people:

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Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Matthew 25: 31, 34-41

In this parable, the good people are those who care for others and they are rewarded with Heaven. The bad people do not help others and they are sent to Hell.

Eternal life

Jesus told the Rich Young Man to go and sell all that he had and give the money to the poor so that he could enjoy riches in Heaven. In Mark, it states:

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Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.Mark 10: 17 – 21