Prosperity and God

Should the amount of money and material things a person has have any bearing in a relationship with God? Can a person with great wealth be as close to God as someone who has little? I recall a scripture where upon a man who witnessed Jesus’ miracles and teachings asked if he could follow him. Jesus told him to to sell all he had and give the proceeds to the poor. This caused the man to rethink his position and declined to do so.

I also remember watching a movie about this church in a small town in Africa (if I recall right) where the military leader of that area did not tolerate Christianity, sent in some men to stop services. When the pastor refused, one of the militants threw the baby of a woman out a window and killed some of the congregation. This was brought to the attention of a church sect in the U.S. who sponsored that missionary establishment and the head of that church (I forget which) came to see the pastor. They talked for a bit and the church head volunteered, “I will pray for you in your poverty”. This was followed by a response by the village pastor, “I will pray for you in your prosperity”. Perspectives encompassing one ideal can vary a great deal.

My interpretation in the jesus story was that the man held wealth as the most important thing in his life. You can have wealth but, to make it the center of your life is where you go wrong. Jesus just wanted people to try and keep priorities straight. Love, life and sharing before personal gain. that is all that story is about. The pastor was smug in his poverty, that too is a big no no.

The first part of your response has a a new slant of an idea I had on this matter. The bold hi-lited area I have cited in your second analogy puts connotations to the Job story (or allegory if you will) in the Old Testament. Both statements are interesting insights. It’s odd to think what some view as sacrifices, others accept as a chosen path.

These are closely paraphrased quotes and very appropriate to this post. I can not remember Biblical quotations as well a lot of the time. Thank you for this contribution Tortoise.

Jesus said, “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.” Matthew 19:24

I’d say money has a great bearing in a relationship with God. There are many more scriptures in the new testament that support the idea that it is better to be poor instead of rich. Clearly Slave Morality at its best. God clearly doesn’t like richies. :wink:

Bane I can’t say that God doesn’t like rich people per se. Kriswest put it in an interesting light though.

We are all loved by God. Even a parent loves a child who has transgressed. If I could postulate though, I would guess is disappointed in the things we, yet we are all still loved. Parents like God expects that the child will atone and not repeat the offense.

There are references like Solomon, David etc. enjoyed wealth while serving God. There must have been others as well through time. With great wealth comes great responsibilities. When it comes to passing through that ‘eye’, we can’t let money lead the way. I appreciate your post here.

Hi liteningbolt. You wrote; ”Should the amount of money and material things a person has have any bearing in a relationship with God?

The Bible is very clear that material wealth is irrelevant with respect to salvation. There are rich enlightened men such as Joseph of Arimathaea for example (Matt. 27: 57). The Holy text specifically states that Joseph was a “disciple of Jesus” (Matt. 27: 57). It was Joseph’s property – his real estate – that was used for the purpose of Christ’s burial which later became the launching pad of his resurrection. It was this rich man Joseph that personally wrapped Jesus’ body with his own labor, and physically tended to the burial (Matt. 27: 58-59). Furthermore, this rich man Joseph of Arimathaea took a personal and political risk by pleading with Pilate for the body of Christ so that he might do these things. Money is not evil but the love of it is (1 Tim. 6:10). Passion

The lessons wrap around the 7 deadly sins, which if you relate the sins and the commandments to the biblical stories you can see the lessons in the books through a vastly different perspective. Most take the words at face value with out installing the listed guidelines into them in different ways. In other words if they find one way they tend to stop looking for others.
It is harder for a wealthy person to get in because they must fight against temptation on a level that the poor did/do not have to.
So of course few will be able to be strong enough to overcome all the sins or hold to all commandments. unless you keep your priorities straight and strong.

Interestingly enough man has twisted it, that poverty is a virtue… To me it sounds like it is the easiest path. You face less temptations and so are not challenging your true inner self. You are not strengthening your soul or mind against evil because you do not face it.

To be wealthy now is to be chastized by the masses because poverty is thought of as a type of virtue due to the repetition of this misinterpretation. The poor despise the wealthy and feel they are better people than the wealthy by virtue of being poor and having a harder physical life. Yet they desire what the wealthy have by trying to create laws and Governments to take from the wealthy and give it to the poor. This encompasses a couple of the deadly sins and breaks at least one commandment. So I think what was, is now changing and the true lessons are being fractured by disregarding original guidlines and meanings.

This is what I was taught by some very religious wonderfull full of life and love Christian missionaries, My aunt and Uncle. He, May he rest however he wants to, was an ordained nondenominational minister… These ideas were also taught to me by a very kind and loving Rabbi too. Just not with the Jesus part in it… Same premise though.

Hi passion,
So, do you think when Jesus had told that one person to sell all he owned, that was exclusive to someone wanting to be a desciple? I agree with Kriswest that people need to keep their priorities straight.

Just to throw sand in the… uhhh, lubricant, there are those who see the accumulation of wealth as proof positive that they are favored by God, and that to be in poverty is obviously punishment for sin. Calvin is still alive and well in the hearts of many…

People will inflict their doctrines through interpretations of the Bible. If I have done it, I haven’t consciously done so. If someone has wealth, it will be up to that individual to do with their money as they see fit. Hopefully IMO they should keep God at the forefront with those kind of decisions.
In regard to your Uncle being a nondenominational minister, I believe that to be the best way to promote Christianity. My church is nondenominational. Teaching of the Bible is the basis of it’s creed. There are few ritualistic tenets that followed and those are purely in a symbolic nature.

That is probably so tentative. People’s perspective tend to vary in how their beliefs coincide with the Bible.

Most get confused about wording and intent. Have you heard preachers? They don’t know how to keep people’s attention,Like yelling or a droning voice really works. They leap from subject to subject, Yea like women thinking about supper or cribbage and men thinking about sports or beer can follow the leaps.

In any given lecture the average person only retain parts of it. After an hour or two of sitting on painful benches and a long lecture, Folks walk away from these things having faith they actually heard things the right way. Throw in the preacher’s/rabbi’s /priest’s own bias and perspective and well, the religious texts get mangled. Read the blasted things yourself and go with your guts, is probably the best way to figure out the actual meanings intended for you.

Kris,

The mind can only grasp what the butt can endure… :laughing:

Hi liteninbolt. You wrote; ”So, do you think when Jesus had told that one person to sell all he owned, that was exclusive to someone wanting to be a desciple?

Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man, was himself a disciple: “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:… (Matt. 27:57) [emphasis mine]. Therefore, we know for a certainty that the rich can be disciples as much as anyone else; discipleship does not require selling all that one owns.

Joseph of Arimathaea was very open handed with his wealth: quick to share, not avaricious, eager to use his wealth and his influence as a tool for good, etc. By contrast, the rich young ruler you mentioned was not generous at all. He clung to his wealth like an idol. Joseph of Arimathaea was the master over his wealth whereas the rich young ruler was a slave to his. Passion

umm,does that mean minds with skinny butts attached, grasp less? [size=59]Go ahead put your foot in your mouth, you know you want to, I know that foot is hard to resist… :laughing: [/size]

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:laughing: I can’t even find an appropriate comment for that…Other than; at least I am not the only one that has to do that. Well, ,no never mind can’t top it. Have to wait for Tent… :laughing:

A few more biblical quotes on the topic…

James 2
5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

James 5
1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

Revelation 3:17
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

I completely disagree with Passion. Being rich is clearly an impediment to Christian faith.

Tent is correct on stating that in Jewish culture being rich was seen as having God’s blessing (and still is today in the US). Jesus comments clearly turned this idea on it’s head.

Lets take a look at possible bias here though,

The books were written by humans, now how many of these writers were wealthy? I mean if everyone that condemned the wealthy were wealthy themselves, I might rethink things. But, if only one was or none then I have to think bias and throw in a wee bit of the Greeneye in there. Of course poor authors would condemn the wealthy to perdition. Can’t be sharing heaven with somebody that irritates you, so throw in those little phrases here and there.

yet still all in all there is no outright condemnation in those phrases just warnings of hoarding and greed. Being wealthy does not mean you are greedy, it just means you are either very lucky or very smart. Controling wealth or having wealth does not mean hoarding… Bank fails where is your wealth? Gone. Not many folks hoard objects of wealth. Gold silver, jewels… Its all on paper, that is not hoarding. Hoarding is having piles of precious materials for ego sake. Not all wealthy are prone to doing that.

No, I think if you mind your Ps and Qs you are fine.