Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon recently made $13.2 billion in just 10 minutes. That’s 13,200 million dollars! Ten minutes is 600 seconds, so he earned a cool 22 million dollars per second. The average hourly wage in the U.S. is around $24.
The question arises as to what God requires of Mr. Bezos, if anything? Does he have a moral responsibility to give some of his money to the poor? The answer is that he does. But why? It’s his money. Here is why:
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
To love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves doesn’t just mean to love the family next door. It means that we should love all of our earthly neighbors. And this commandment wasn’t given only to the Jews. Scripture says that the Law was given to stop every mouth and leave the whole world guilty before God (see Romans 3:19), and it certainly does just that. We fall way short of its demands.
The love that we should have for others is exemplified in the story of what we commonly call “The Good Samaritan” (see Luke 10:25-37), who wasn’t good at all. He merely obeyed the basic requirements of God’s Law, in loving his neighbor as much as he loved himself.
To do nothing to alleviate the suffering of the poor, or to let kids in India or Africa die because they are drinking polluted water or have no food, is to transgress that Law. Even man’s law says that we are culpable if we can save someone, and instead we let them die. That violation is called “depraved indifference” and can send you to prison.
Communism also says that the rich should distribute their wealth to the poor. But the problem with communists is that they usually have to kill the rich to get their money. This is because most of them treat it as their god. It is from it that they derive a sense of security, of peace, and joy—the very things they should get from the God who allowed them to become rich. This is one of the reasons that an estimated 100,000,000 human beings have been slaughtered in the name of atheistic communism.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with money. It helps us to put food on the table for our family, to pay the rent, and to fill our cars with gas. It’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil (see 1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus warned that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. There are those who think that He was referring to a small gate called “the eye of the needle” at the main gate of Jerusalem. The Camel had to humble itself and forsake its load to enter. That sounds plausible, until we see the reaction of the disciples:
When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26, emphasis added)
The disciples didn’t say, “Yes, that makes sense.” They instead were “greatly astonished.” Then Jesus word used the word “impossible” to describe what He was saying. It may be difficult for a camel to get through a small gate, but it’s not impossible. It seems obvious that Jesus was speaking of a literal camel and a literal needle. It’s impossible for a rich man to let go of his beloved riches, unless God does a work of grace in his heart.
If providence would allow me to speak to Jeff Bezos, I would tell him that the ideal scenario would be for him to humble himself before his Creator, confess and forsake his well-publicized sin of adultery, and then place his faith in Jesus Christ as his sin-bearer. In doing so, God would not only grant him everlasting life, but He would make him a new creature in Christ, and in doing so, write His Law upon his heart. This would result in a personal miracle, one experienced by all who are born again (see John 3:1-5). He would delight to do the will of God. He would say with King David:
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8, KJV)
He would then want to help the poor because the love of God would now dwell within him. Wealth would now no longer be his god, but a means of alleviating the suffering of others (which he may do now anyway).