Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Was Jesus Anti-Wealth?

We have a long way to go in changing our mentality to a Kingdom mentality. Too many of us are trying to live for Jesus by the standards of this world. We allow the values of this place to shape our thinking and reactions. It is hard not to when we are inundated with advertising for such things throughout our day. As well, we are now influenced by opinions we read many times a day through social media. We don't even balance this with proper Bible study. As Christians we want maximum benefit with minimum effort.

Most of us are stuck with the mentality of always wanting to better our situation. Few of us find contentment with what we have. The message we hear all the time is one of growth in our position and possessions. We fail to see this as an affront to the principles of the Kingdom that speak of greater riches than these meager earthly things.

We want more; we want bigger; we want better. That is what drives the economies of this world. The movie "Wall-e" had a good message about this; the Bible has an even better one.

Are you a Christian? Then you need to understand that you have been told by your King to put the riches of this world in their place:

Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)

We read it, teach it, preach it but few find the desire to apply it. Let's be clear about this because Jesus was clear about it:

“Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

In fact, Jesus told us to see money, not as something to possess but, as something to use; a tool:

I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes. (Luke 16:9)

An important thing to understand is that Jesus stated that the rich have received their reward and there will be none to follow:

But how terrible for you who are rich,
    because you have already received your comfort. (Luke 6:24)

Jesus is not anti-wealth, it's just he knows how it pollutes the hearts of most people:

 “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” (Matthew 19:23-24)

When we are mature in our relationship with Jesus, in our understanding of the Kingdom and in our desire to serve, some will be trusted with wealth. It is something Father wants us to have so that he can use us in these areas for the salvation of souls. But he is not about to place such a burden on those who will be destroyed by it. Wealth has a way of becoming an idol for us, changing our dependence on God to our dependence on our money.

It is better to be content with what you have and seek greater things of the Kingdom, grow and mature, staying dependent on the Lord, than to run after things that will consume and destroy you. Not a new or strange message but one that most of us will politely ignore.

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