[Guest post by Paul Brown] As a company, Wasson Watch publicly embraces Christian values. Is it that a contradiction? How can a luxury watch company call itself “Bible-based” when the Bible warns us to forsake worldly possessions?
First, let’s address the idea that the Bible commands us to jettison worldly possessions, and that money is evil. There are a number of relevant passages.
Should We Forsake Worldly Possessions?
In Matthew 19:16-30, a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to achieve eternal life. Jesus tells him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Some interpret Matthew 19:16-30 as ‘sell what you possess and give to the poor.’ Technically, they’re right. But the context is important. Jesus gave the advice to an individual whose wealth may have been keeping him from eternal life. The passage doesn’t say, but it proceeds to show that Jesus used the interaction to make an important point.
When the disciples heard it was difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus didn’t say “the poor” or “those who forsake their wealth.” He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
We know from the broader context of scripture that we don’t gain eternal life by giving money to the poor or the church or any altruistic action. We do so by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
For this reason, as well as the other lessons highlighted in the passage, we can see that Jesus’ instructions to the rich young man were specific instructions, not a general command for all mankind.
Nevertheless, wealth and worldly possessions can be a stumbling block, an obstacle to a relationship with God. We aren’t saved by the dollar amount in our bank account (high or low). That said, if you’re fortunate enough to be wealthy, it can be hard to think you need a relationship with God to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The truth is we need God no matter what our life circumstances. Good health, safety, wealth and pleasure are all illusions that can blind us to our eternal state. According to Proverbs 18:11, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.” No amount of wealth can save a person from death, nor can it be used to secure eternal life.
Is Money The Root of All Evil?
The Bible never states that money is evil. Timothy 6:10 says “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” This passage is frequently misquoted or misinterpreted.
Money is not the root of all evil. Look closely. Even the love of money isn’t the root of all evil. It’s the root of all kinds of evil. Loving, trusting, obsessing and/or worshiping money are all different ways of breaking the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Money is like compromise. It isn’t evil per se. It can be used for evil or good. Furthermore, the Bible speaks positively of money and wealth in multiple places.
Proverbs 21:20 says “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Wealth can be a bi-product of wisdom. Wise men conserve their wealth appropriately. A foolish man squanders his possessions.
Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” It’s an age-old principle: “easy” money doesn’t last. We see it all the time when people who win the lottery are worse-off when they remove all limits on their spending and end up in massive debt.
In Luke 16:9, Jesus said “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
In this passage Jesus doesn’t tell his followers to forsake earthly possessions. He tells them to use them wisely for eternal gain. Money isn’t some kind of inherent evil. It’s an asset.
Where and How Do You Draw the Line on Wealth?
God cares more about the state of our hearts than our wealth. Rich or poor, our faith and affection should be aimed at Christ, not worldly possessions.
That said, while having wealth is not prohibited, could our pursuit of wealth and luxury say something about the state of our heart? Yes, it could. Where do you draw the line?
Again, 1 Timothy 6:9 states that love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. But in verse 10 it says “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
In other words, there’s nothing wrong with being rich. But if you desire wealth, if your heart is set on it, it reflects badly on the state of your heart.
Proverbs 30:7-9 says, “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
This verse illustrates the nature of man. Ideally, all humans would be content with what God has given them. He not only made us in his image, but sent his one and only Son to pay for our sins. That is sufficient.
Yet, this verse acknowledges our humanity – despite being subject to physical needs and the possibility that poverty can drive us to temptation. Furthermore, and more to the point, the verse recognizes that wealth that goes beyond covering our basic needs puts us in the dangerous position of becoming an idol.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 God gives instructions for kings to Israel. In verse 17 he says, “And he shall not […] acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.” You’ll notice that the king was not prohibited from acquiring silver and gold, just doing so excessively.
When is Wealth Excessive?
The Bible doesn’t answer that question with a number, description or amount. Part of the answer is in Proverbs 23:4. “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.”
The answer to how much is too much is discernment. You have to discern whether or not your heart is in the right place, if you’re toiling after wealth because it has become an idol, or if you’re simply obeying Colossians 3:23, which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
For some people too much money might be a net worth of $100k. For others it may be $100b. To better understand how much is too much for you, it’s best to pray for discernment, and meditate on Proverbs 1:7. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The line is already drawn in your heart. It’s up to you to figure out where it is.
How Do You Apply Christian Teachings to Luxury Watches?
There’s no getting around it: luxury watches represent a worldly possession. In some instances, it can be equated with wealth. The question comes down to this: is spending $945 on a Wasson Watch morally justifiable? How about $12k on a Rolex? Or $50k on a Patek Philippe?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with spending any amount on a watch. It’s not about that. It’s about the state of your heart.
If buying a luxury timepiece causes you to stumble, if it makes you swell with pride because you have something better than someone else, if it contributes in any way to putting your trust in the work of your hands instead of God, then I have one simple piece of advice: don’t buy it. Get a Timex or a Casio or look at your phone when you need to tell the time.
[NB: This post has been edited from the original for length and clarity.]