We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Attended a talk by a preacher on that subject on Friday morning. I don't know the answer to the question, nor do I know the answer to the larger question: "Does God want us to be happy?" Or to the sillier question: "Does God want us to have fun?"
However, I suspect larger, deeper issues than these preoccupy God, and that "life in abundance" does not mean owning five expensive cars, or a 10,000 square foot house, or having a million sycophant friends, or a gun room full of Purdys and Perazzis - however pleasing and desirable those things may be.
Speaking as just one regular guy, who is wealthy by world standards but well below average by my local neighborhood standards, it has always seemed that God is more interested in humbling me, and teaching me gratitude, and seeking my devotion, than in raising me up by worldly measures.
But what I want to post is a quote from Nelson Mandela, with good comments following from Worstall, which which I agree:
"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it."
If you start out with such a misdiagnosis you'll never be able to offer the right treatment.
Poverty is, how ever much we wish it wasn't, the natural state of mankind. It is the starting point, not something that is created at all, it's something that is there before we start to try and do anything.
The thing that is created is wealth, not poverty. What we need to study is not how poverty is created, for that is what is there already, but how wealth is created, which is the different and interesting thing.
You may want to have a look at the site: http://www.scienceofgettingrich.net/ which is based on the work of an early contributor to the human potential movement. It was his contention that according to God it is our duty to become rich. Now that's a God I can fully support, one that has me be dutybound to be creative and generate wealth in an attitude of humility and gratitude rather than blowing things up. What a profound difference.
"God wants me to be rich, thin and good looking" seems to be the mantra of the non-denominational mega-churches these days. I thought God wanted us to serve Him. Isn't "abundance" a spiritual abundance?
I agree, however, that wealth, not poverty, is created and that the more wealth we create, the more material suffering we can alleviate. But poverty of soul cannot be alleviated by material things. And it is our souls that God is concerned about, not the size of our houses.