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Short Quotes on Wealth From Church History

Articles on Christian Stewardship

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A wide variety and consensus on money and wealth in church history.

“Riches are long in getting with much pains, hard in keeping with much care, quick in losing with more sorrow. Riches may leave us while we live, we must leave them when we die.”
—Thomas Fuller

“The heart of a Christian, like the moon, commonly suffers an eclipse when it is at the full, and that by the interposition of the earth.”
—John Flavel

“When a man is to travel into a far country…one staff in his hand may comfortably support him, but a bundle of staves would be troublesome. Thus a competency of these outward things may happily help us in the way to heaven, whereas abundance may be hurtful.”
—Richard Sibbes

“Where there is no want, there is usually much wantonness.”
—John Flavel

“Christ telleth us, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Our Savior, indeed, doth not speak of an impossibility, but of the difficulty of it and the rareness of it. Job unfolded the riddle, and got through the needle’s eye with three thousand camels. But it is hard to be wealthy and not wanton.”
—George Swinnock

“Solomon got more hurt by his wealth, than he got good by his wisdom.”
—Thomas Brooks

“It is hard to carry a full cup without spilling, and a full estate without sinning.”
—Thomas Watson

“Let us not make the poor our friends by our alms, not our enemies by our scorns. We had better have the ears of God full of their prayers, than heaps of money in our own coffers with their curses.”
—Thomas Adams

“Poverty hath slain a thousand, but riches have slain ten thousand. They are very uncertain, they promise that which they cannot perform, neither can they afford a contented mind.”
—Martin Luther

“The whole Turkish empire is nothing else but a crust cast by Heaven’s great Housekeeper to His dogs.”
—Martin Luther

“David could bear persecution and murmuring, but when he came to prosperity he could not turn his eyes away from vanity.”
—Sir Richard Baker

“And as men diversions increase from the world, so do their entanglements from Satan. When they have more to do in the world than they can well manage, they shall have more to do from Satan than they can withstand.”
—John Owen

“The least grace is a better security for heaven than the greatest gifts or privileges whatsoever.”
—John Owen

“He who bestows his goods upon the poor shall have as much again and ten times more.”
—John Bunyan

“If any prophet, speaking in a trance, says, ‘Give me your money (or anything else),’ do not listen to him.”
—the Didache

“Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity.”

“He that serves God for money will serve the Devil for better wages.”
—Sir Roger L’Estrange

“I continually find it necessary to guard against that natural love of wealth and grandeur which prompts us always, when we come to apply our general doctrine to our own case, to claim an exception.”
—William Wilberforce

“It is more blessed to give than to receive, and therefore less blessed to receive than to give.”
—Thomas Chalmers

“Put God to work for you and maximize your potential in our divinely ordered capitalist system.”
—Norman Vincent Peale

“Money degrades all the gods of man and converts them into commodities.”
—Karl Marx

“No one can earn a million dollars honestly.”
—William Jennings Bryan

“Even if we were not sinful by nature, the sin of having private property would suffice to condemn us before God; for that which he gives us freely, we appropriate to ourselves.”
—Ulrich Zwingli

“Evangelical agencies with ready funding may have too little depth and vision to cope with the current conflict. God’s kingdom is built not on perpetual motion, one-liners, and flashbulbs but on Christ.”
—Carl. F. Henry

“There is no such thing as Success.…That a thing is successful merely means that it is; a millionaire is successful in being a millionaire and a donkey in being a donkey.”
—G.K. Chesterton

“Money is God in action.”
—Reverend Ike

“Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money”

“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected…. Hoarding is idolatry.”
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“When it is in your power to do good, withhold not, because alms deliver from death.”
—Polycarp of Smyrna:

The world asks, “What does a man own?”; Christ asks, “How does he use it?”
—Andrew Murray (1828–1917) S. African minister, church leader, writer

“The fellow that has no money is poor.The fellow that has nothing but money is poorer still.”
—Billy Sunday (1862–1935) American Revivalist

“If anyone does not refrain from the love of money, he will be defiled by idolatry and so be judged as if he were one of the heathen.
—Polycarp (70?–156?) Bishop of Smyrna

“If a thief helps a poor man out of the spoils of his thieving, we must not call that charity.”
—Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) Italian Poet

“No stigma attaches to the love of money in America, and provided it does not exceed the bounds imposed by public order, it is held in honor. The American will describe as noble and estimable ambition that our medieval ancestors would have called base cupidity.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) French politician, writer

“Do not give, as many rich men do, like a hen that lays her eggs …and then cackles.”
—Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887) 19th-century American preacher

“Where money is an idol, to be poor is a sin.”
—William Stringfellow Episcopal layman, writer

“As a rule, prayer is answered and funds come in, but if we are kept waiting, the spiritual blessing that is the outcome is far mar precious than exemption from the trial.”
—J. Hudson Taylor (1832–1905) English Missionary to China, Founder, China Inland Mission

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