Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh
Only poor Jesus among rich Christians?
What’s the meaning of the scripture with above assertion and how does it apply to Christians? Is it in consonance with the message brought by Christ? We’d see.
If we consider the scripture, 2Cor. Chapters 8 &9, in the light of Jesus leaving his glory (the greatest of all wealth) in heaven in order to bring us the truth that sets us free; so that he became poor (became subject to man’s weaknesses except sin) as God’s incarnation, enabling many to share in Christ’s glory in heaven and become rich in that sense, we would be absolutely right except that it wasn’t the intendment of that scripture. A close inspection of chapters 8 & 9 would reveal that Paul was solely interested in money (collections from churches) in spite of Matt 10:8 and Lk 22:35-36 (which mandates a preacher to be responsible for his bills as well as safety) and he used all sorts of guise to achieve his aim. Paul was speaking in material sense and the contemporary church is also claiming that scripture in material sense: both Paul and today’s Christians only use that scripture with their heads full of money and that’s why the scripture failed to qualify as God’s word when juxtaposed with Christ’s theology concerning material wealth as well as his commandment forbidding preachers from asking for money from those they minister to (church members, etc).
To be poor is to lack things, physical or spiritual and to be rich is the opposite. In what way(s) was Jesus Christ poor in his earthly ministry and how has it impacted his followers according to this scripture?
Obviously, he was never spiritually poor; else he could never have opened blind eyes or raised the dead. Given that he was like his followers in every material particular, trekked from place to place on foot, didn’t have a house, was not neatly or expensively dressed and generally lacked material things like food (he suffered hunger), shelter (didn’t have accommodation) and money, was buried in a borrowed tomb, etc., his kind of poverty was unarguably material in nature.
If 2Cor8:9 were true, every follower of Jesus Christ should be materially rich but that’s not anywhere near the truth and reality. Material wealth in this world is controlled by thieves, occultists and very corrupt people, as a rule. The world’s richest people are usually those who deny the existence of God like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The world’s wealth is in the hands of killers, homosexuals, drug barons, lesbians, witches and wizards, politicians, idolaters, pastors and all manner of people who are directly opposed to the kingdom of God.
That’s in consonance with the gospel as preached by Jesus Christ because the Devil gives the world’s wealth to those that bow to him (Matt4:8&9) just as Jesus blesses the materially poor (Lk 6:20) whereas he curses the materially rich (see Lk 6:24) who must have bowed to the Devil one way or the other to belong to the world’s rich. Lk 6:20-26 (Please, ensure to read this passage).
Since Jesus was materially poor and his followers are also materially poor, it means that 2Cor8:9 is not true especially because, according to Jesus, the servant must be like his master and a student like his teacher as in Matt 10:16-39. For 2Cor8&9 to be true, Matt 10:16-39 would have to be a lie and Jesus Christ himself a liar. The worst part of this doctrine is that you get as much as you give in the sense as described in 2Cor8&9 because if you give as much as commanded by Christ, you must become poor…the opposite of the doctrine in question. The rich don’t give; they don’t even pay their bills!! Besides, God operates supper abundance: he doesn’t have to impoverish one in order to enrich another because he could always provide for both Christ and his brothers. By this same token, Christ did all he did as examples for us to repeat same not on our behalf as some erroneously believe.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Mat 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Mat 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Mat 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Mat 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Mat 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man become.
Mat 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Mat 10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Mat 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, he will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
We all want Jesus’ level of anointing but not his level of praying and fasting; his level of relevance in heaven that makes heaven honour every word of his but not his level of self-effacing humility and rejection for this world for which he never received honour from men. We want to be relevant on earth as well as in heaven but that’s impossible, unfortunately. All the blessings declared upon believers as in the beatitudes are all spiritual, not even one is material in nature. This further exposes pastors who promise material “blessings” to gullible followers as evil and enemies of God.
Jesus Christ is our only role model. The whole point of our lives is a struggle to conform to the totality of his essence. This we will achieve with the help of the precious Holy Spirit and the angels of God who are always available to us. Praise God.