If Jesus Was Rich, Why Do I Have To Be Poor (1)?

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 it would make sense if the claim had been made that the gospel was "only" about "Health and Wealth", but many believe that the gospel does include these things for believers whose priority is the kingdom of God!

There are New Covenant thoughts placed in the Old Covenant literature for us to find and follow. In Psalm 67 God says this for us through the psalmist...

Psa 67:1-2 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
so that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

God wants to bless us so that His way would be known on earth and His salvation among all the nations.

And, 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.

These things being food, shelter, money, clothing, etc. As someone also has said, "If Jesus was rich, why do I have to be poor?"

Now 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? Wouldn't this be a good guide?

Let's look first at the group dynamic. What financial offices did they have?

Well, the first thing that we notice is that the group had a full-time treasurer!

John 13:29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. (NLT)

This passage tells us that the group had sufficient funds that they had appointed someone (Judas) to be their treasurer! These could not be poor people!

Another thing to note is that on this occasion the group had the thought, when Judas went out, that he was going to give some money to the poor. Now for this to spring to mind as a top option it must have been something done on a regular basis!

Are the poor regularly sending their treasurers out to give money to other poor people? This is not something that I have noticed!

Judas seems not to personally have been rich because he stole and was prepared to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but this is hardly a great recommendation for being a poor follower of Jesus!

Now, let's take a look at some of the other people that Jesus brought in as His disciples.

Mar 1:16-20 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men". And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

These four disciples were all fishermen but, they were not just hired hands. These four owned fishing busineses. They owned their own fishing boats (plural!). James and John were in a big enough business that they had hired hands working for them! They were not poor by any means. They had money from their ongoing businesses and could go back to them at any time. In fact they did when Jesus was killed!

So we see from this first look at Jesus and the disciples that they were not generally poor and sick but quite the opposite! This being the case perhaps we should look at what one disciple, John, said about this subject...

3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers."

I want you to notice that John, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells believers that he prays that all manner of prosperity and health should be theirs in the same way that their soul is prospering. Is that not "Health and Wealth"?

One therefore, wonders why anyone would think that Jesus would live one life with His disciples and then expect us to live the opposite today!

He doesn't! God wants to bring wealth to His people so that they can be a blessing to others. He says so all through our manual (the bible). As another scripture tells us in Proverbs 10:22...

Prov 10:22 The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

The blessing is not money. The blessing is the favour of God. We are not to love money but realize that money is useful to serve God and further the kingdom. The gospel is preached in the world through the use of money. Money/wealth is neither good nor bad of itself - it's neutral. If you only want enough so that you are comfortable though, then perhaps you see less far than God does; God sees further than Himself and wants us to do so as well!

Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because of which He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to bring deliverance to the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and to deliver them from oppression. Staying poor is not good news! Staying sick is not good news! Poverty is not a blessing, it's a curse (Deu 28:15-68); and sickness is oppression by the devil (Act 10:38). We have been called as Jesus' representatives to bring good news to the poor and deliver them from oppression.

Mark 10:29-30 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

Notice that the good news is not only about what you will receive in the age to come. It applies to this age also. And we are to bring that good news to others also.

That's why God blesses His people; so that they can be a blessing to others.

Psa 37:3-5 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Best wishes for Grace and The Peace of Jesus.


Another thought....

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