When I study a religions teaching I automatically glance towards the followers to compare their walk with their talk, why do I do this? Because the walk displays the measure of faith which in turn inspires an inner desire for the onlooker or not.
Over many years I have met mostly financially well off Christians and then some poor Christians as well. The strange problem is that the poor Christians I have met don’t want to struggle with their financial commitments just like anyone else any more than the financially well of Christians wish to help their poorer brothers and sisters in Christianity and that is where the irony for me kicks in.
There are many scriptures in Jesus’ teaching that encourage the Christian to share his wealth with the poor especially the poor Christians. There are many Bible verses that encourage A life that is less materialistic and more giving yet I rarely see it in practice. I often hear of Christians going to conferences and events in some holiday location and when I ask them the cost of the event they inform me that it is anywhere between £20 and £200, I have even heard of luxury Christian Cruises costing in the region of £2000. When I ask them but where does that leave the poor Christians that can’t afford this amazing opportunity for Christian encouragement and teaching? The response is often the same either they can’t attend or that there is a bursary. A bursary while sounding very giving often doesn’t cover the costs in full but on top of that there is the hidden costs such as petrol too and from the event often costing on average £100 alone. Could a poor family come to these events? It would seem not at all. So these events are often filled with only wealthy Christians.
Is it right for a Christian to keep spending vast amounts of money on themselves while they have brothers and sisters in Christianity struggling to pay their bills and feed their family? It would seem not by Jesus’ teachings.
Here are a few to summerize:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25 again in Matthew 19:24 “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
2 Corinthians 8: 13For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15as it is written, “HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHOgathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK.”
|Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything
you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. …
and again in
|… Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give
to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. …
Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
Acts 2:45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
The list continues but repeats what is said here.
So why is there a Christian rich and poor divide, why is there haves and have-nots? This is that part where I see a testimony of their faith in what they believe. It is often this testimony that provokes those that aren’t Christian to question the Christian faith, let me explain: If I see someone who claims to believe in something but is convinced enough to prove that in following after their faith then they themselves clearly don;t have much in the way of trust in what they believe in. Here is an example of that in everyday life: If my son was a painter and I kept telling everyone how great he is but then had some painting done by another painter because I didn’t trust my son’s work then what message would this send to those I was promoting him too?
I have heard it argued that Jesus makes men wealthy so long as that person thanks God and gives glory to God for that wealth but yet I have never read this mentality in Jesus’ teaching except where the wealth is then shared with the poor.
Is poverty acceptable for a Christian or does it mean that the Christian is not being blessed by God?
Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.” Mark 14:7
Jesus acknowledged that poverty will not be whipped out but he did not say that they were sinners or not blessed or anything like that in fact he said that “you can help them at any time.” and the reference to 2 Corinthians 8:13-16 gives a good example of the sharing in process after all everyone is only one pay cheque away from being homeless.
Jesus also said “you shall know a tree by its fruit.” the meaning of this was exactly what I mentioned above and which we should recognise as an example to us when meeting Christians those that live by their faith and the measure of their faith.