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
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
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.
If Jesus was rich -