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David Hagni

This paper was written by David Hagni.

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Dave graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center and Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. He holds master's degrees in both divinity and business administration from Regent University.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > Wealth according to Jesus

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Footnotes

  In conjunction with His insistence that a person cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24), Jesus brought the kingdom to bear on his follower’s values. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The rule and reign of God over a believer’s life can break any cultural addiction. Jesus taught that it is essential to maintain cooperation with God’s reign within in order to avoid or break the deadly trap of anxiety caused by cultural addiction to materialism.

 

  The only way to accomplish this is to continue to “hunger and thirst” (Matt. 5:6) for God’s order in our lives. Seeking God’s kingdom replaces anxiety and fear with faith and trust that God will provide all that is needed and desired. Jesus’ own life example and teachings affirm the ethical acquisition of wealth and teach the right use of possessions for personal enjoyment and the enhancement of the kingdom of God. Jesus knew and operated from a positive Old Testament viewpoint of wealth. The gospel of Matthew never portrays Jesus or His disciples as unable to access resources[18].He probably owned a house (Matt. 8:5,14; 4:13; 9:1, 10, 28; 13:1, 36; 17:24, 25)[19]and did not classify Himself as financially poor (Matt. 26:11). His disciples were from a

variety of socio-economic backgrounds but, at worst, came from lower middle class. Neither did Jesus’ ministry suffer poverty as boats (Matt. 13:1), lodging (Luke 19:1-10), food (John 6:1-15) and other needs were continually provided. He considered his ministry on earth a time of festivity and enjoyed things only money can buy (Matt. 26:6-13). Judas even stole from the ministry treasury without being noticed, suggesting that there were substantial funds from which to steal (John 12:6).

 

  Jesus’ teachings left little doubt of his attitude toward the positive value that wealth can have if used correctly. In Luke 16 Jesus used the parable of the shrewd manager to show the potential in worldly wealth to attract people’s favor. The manager used his wealth to win the favor of debtors and thus provide for himself in his time of crisis. In commending the manager’s wise decisions (vs. 8), Jesus was calling for the right use of wealth, not the abandonment of possessions[20].Jesus taught that the wise use of wealth is found in being faithful and honest with small amounts (vs. 10), using wealth in service to humanity (vs. 9), and serving God’s purposes undistracted (vs. 14, 15). The person who uses money wisely can literally win friends for eternity and receive heavenly rewards (vs. 9).

 

  Using wealth to meet needs and win people for eternity is an important theme in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus encouraged his followers to give freely even to people from whom there is little hope of any return (Luke 6:35). On the other hand, He also encouraged giving with expectation that even more would be given back in return (Luke 6:37,38). These are not contradictory statements.

 

  These two statements again emphasize the motive and attitude that giving should assume. Giving is to be done out of a motive of love with no strings attached (“without expecting to get anything back”). And, giving is to be done with strong faith in God that He will orchestrate an even greater return on our giving (“give and it will be given to you . . . running over”). Jesus taught that as we acquire wealth we should look for needs to meet as an investment in His kingdom. God will then handle the return on these investments!

 

  The parable of the Good Samaritan is one other example Jesus used to teach of the correct use of the power of wealth. Love is the summation of the Law according to Jesus (Luke 10:26-28). The Samaritan used at least two days wages to provide medicine and lodging for the beaten victim. He became the supreme example of taking advantage of an opportunity for using wealth to compassionately minister to human needs.

 

  From these examples of the life and teachings of Jesus, it is clear that He is not opposed to the ethical gain of wealth and its enjoyment, especially in light of its rightful use to minister to people’s needs. However, an understanding concerning His teaching about money would not be complete without seeing how He framed them within the parameters of sober warnings and restrictions.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Footnotes

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