He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:45 NIV
Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $56 billion and is consistently listed by Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest men in the world. When it comes to financial and business success, it’s easy to see that he has been greatly blessed. However, Mr. Gates is an atheist.
My place of employment is headed up by a man who is a devout Christian and often proclaims that his business has been successful because it has been blessed by God. He publicly expresses this sentiment during his annual Christmas party speech and while giving tours of our facility to outsiders.
When this belief was mentioned during a conversation this morning at work, someone asked, “If we have been successful because God has blessed this company, then who blessed Bill Gates?” The surprising answer from a co-worker was, “Satan.” I couldn’t help but snicker a little bit.
The easy answer could have been that God blesses everyone, whether they give him credit or not. They are also going to have a rainy day every once in a while, whether they are pleasing him or not. Or perhaps that’s just a convenient answer to an(other) unanswerable question.
Why would God choose to bless a person who doesn’t even believe that he exists? While I think offering praise to God for the things we have been blessed with is a good thing, surely we aren’t going to give God credit when underhanded business tactics and exploitation of the poor results in financial excess. And who are we going to blame when companies close and lives fall apart?
I can’t help but get a little uncomfortable any time financial wealth is linked to a higher power. Perhaps the real recipe for success lies in hard work, dedication, and long hours, with the credit going to the person making those sacrifices and thanks going to God for the opportunities that life presented.