American values do not coincide with spiritual values—they are quite the opposite. For example, wealth in the "kingdom of God" is different than wealth in the world.I have to briefly discuss this...

American values do not coincide with spiritual values—they are quite the opposite. For example, wealth in the "kingdom of God" is different than wealth in the world.

I have to briefly discuss this in a discussion today.

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of worldly wealth is entirely different than that of heavenly rewards.

Society is governed and motivated by the desire to accumulate wealth. People will do almost anything to make money, which they believe will solve all their problems, and make them happy and powerful. Ours is a capitalist society where the free market allows private citizens and companies to make money, with limited interference from the government. Before money motivated people, precious metals and gems were of great value; before that, crops, animals and military power were in the hands of those who had, as opposed to those who had not.

However, religion sees worldly wealth as having little value. There is no need for money or possessions after death. As you refer to the "kingdom of God," I would anticipate that you are referring to Christian theology. The New Testament records Christ's teachings, and those of writers of the New Testament, with regard to money.

Being rich is not beneficial to getting into heaven:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:23 (NIV)

This sentiment is repeated with a famous piece of imagery:

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 (NIV)

It is also noted that possessions are not things to be valued for those intent upon reaching heaven:

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 (EST)

According to the scriptures, when Jesus called his disciples, he told them to leave everything and follow him. And they did so, as described in Matthew, specifically referring to Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

Again, another story is told of a rich young man who approached Jesus and asked (Matt 19:16)—

“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus spoke of keeping the commandments. When the young man agreed that he had done this, he asked Jesus what else he should do.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Matthew 19:21-22 (NIV)

The Bible also speaks about different kinds of riches—those that are not in the form of tangible goods or money:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Romans 11:33 (NIV)

It seems clear that in a worldly view, wealth means everything. In the Christian faith, wealth is something to be given to others in need; wealth is seen as wisdom and knowledge; and, wealth is not something that will serve one well if that person wishes to find heaven.

From a Christian perspective, wealth makes it difficult for people to be humble servants as the scriptures call Christ's followers to do. Christ was interested in seeing to the well-being of others. Having money, and wanting to hold onto it, does not serve one's best interests if he/she is interested in finding the "kingdom of God."