Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to good good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. Jacob 2:17-19
Some may be surprised to read that Jacob teaches that it is OK to seek for riches. It is not only acceptable in God's eyes that one be rich but also he seems to encourage seeking after riches! But, there are cautions and "steps" to doing so.
He tells us that before we seek for riches, we need to seek for the kingdom of God. Our first priority should be the establishment of the gospel, first in our own lives and then in a broader sense. Once we have a testimony (a "hope in Christ"), if we seek for riches we will have them. Note that it does not say that if we have a testimony we will become rich. Rather, we must actually seek for riches, that is, work for them, put forth an effort to gain them. And then another caveat is included: We must seek riches for the intent of doing good - cloth the naked, feed the hungry, liberate the captive (this could mean physically and spiritually) and provide relief to the sick.
So, here are the "rules" for those who seek wealth:
1. Seek the establishment of the kingdom of God. That is, do your part to be of service in the church before you start out seeking for wealth. This establishes the priorities.
2. Gain a testimony - a hope in Christ. This will give you the foundation and framework for the later use of your wealth.
3. Work hard to gain wealth. This may be through your vocation, schooling, industry, etc. The Lord won't simply give you wealth on a silver platter as a reward for following the first 2 steps. In fact the Lord does not say that you "can" obtain riches. He says we "shall" obtain riches, if we follow His steps.
4. Be prepared to share your wealth to help the needy, proclaim the gospel and advance the kingdom of God.
Perhaps this ties back to verse 5 where Jacob denounces the people for "laboring in sin". Perhaps many of the people were seeking to obtain wealth, but they were forgetting the first 2 steps and the 4th step. They were laboring to gain wealth with the wrong attitude and with the wrong priorities, thus laboring in sin. There is nothing wrong with seeking wealth if it is done according to the Lord's way. In fact, if we labor in righteousness, following His pattern, we are told we shall obtain wealth. Of course, wealth is relative. Though I do not have great stores of wealth, I have sufficient for my needs and am able to help promote the gospel. I am, indeed, wealthy.