If Jesus Was Rich, Why Do I Have To Be Poor (2)?

Recently I've had a number of people tell me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a "Health and Wealth" gospel. Indeed to them the very idea of associating "Health and Wealth" with Jesus was abhorent!

Now I would understand this if the claim were made that the gospel was only about "Health and Wealth", but doesn't the gospel include these things for those believers whose priority is the kingdom of God?

As Jesus said in Matthew 6:33.
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

As someone has also said, "If Jesus was rich, why do I have to be poor?"

That counter statement made me think, "Is 'Health and Wealth' included in the gospel?" For instance, what was the overall status of Jesus and the disciples? Surely they are our best guide!

Let's look at the group dynamic. Did any of them have a financial background?

Well, one thing that we notice is that one of the group had previously been a tax collector!

Mat 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

This passage tells us that Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples had been a tax collector!

These people grew rich from the money they extracted from the people to pay taxes to Rome while including a healthy cut for themselves!

So like Zacchaeus another tax collector Jesus 'converted', Matthew would likely have been very rich indeed. And there's no mention of him giving it all to the poor!

Of course we don't know all the disciple's occupations so we don't know how rich they all were but another incident in their lives shows us what they thought of themselves.

Mat 19:23-25 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

Did you notice the disciple's reaction? They said, "Who then can be saved?" They were astonished! If they had considered themselves amongst the poor Jesus' statement would not have been a problem to them! It might be tough on the rich but they would be OK! But, since they exclaimed, "Then who can be saved?", it shows that they placed themselves in the camp of the rich!

With that understood, let's consider what God says about His attitude towards His people being wealthy. God is the same always, so Old Testament scriptures should be a good place to start.

Ps 35:27 Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, "The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant(s)."

So God delights in the prosperity of His people! From what some people say one would not get that impression! But it's always a good idea to believe what God says about Himself in His word, rather than what others say about Him!

So we see from this second look at Jesus and the disciples and also at God's attitude, that they were not poor and that God loves it when His people have excess money to help the poor!

Pro 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.

God wants us to use money wisely as He would guide, but money is neutral and greedy, money-grabbing people can be poor as well as rich!

One therefore, at second glance, wonders why anyone would think that Jesus with His disciples and God's people under the Old Covenant like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon can be rich to be a blessing to others, and then expect Jesus' disciples today to live poor thinking only of themselves!

The secular world has been given the idea that poverty is piety and this idea has entered the church also. As a result Christians themselves limit what God would like to do through them! This is not new though. Have a look at Psalm 78, verse 41 regarding the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Psa 78:41 Yes, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

So we can limit God by turning back from receiving His blessing through believing criticism and evil reports, or by accepting the world's mindset that physical blessing are for those in Satan's world and God's people are supposed to be poor!

That's not how God thinks though! He wishes that His people prosper in all areas of life and be in health - just as our souls are prospering. We should remember that "sozo" the greek word translated as 'save' in the new testament has the full meaning of - "save, heal, deliver, make whole, rescue, and prosper".

Best wishes for Grace and The Peace of Jesus.


Another thought....

If Jesus was rich - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7