The song of the day, in this overly heated political season, seems to be, “Take from the rich and greedy! They are siphoning off millions in profits and allowing companies to go belly up causing jobs and retirement benefit losses.” If that were really true, then the U.S. would have sunk a long time ago into hegemony by the few…just sayin’.
But, anyway, if the attitude and call is to scalp the rich like they have scalped us, how does that square with Jesus and His teachings? Did Jesus have to deal with big corporations and the rich? What did He do? One of my brothers swears Jesus was a Democrat because He rode into the city on a donkey! Oh, well. The point is that Jesus did encounter similar circumstances as we face today. Remember, there were vast palatial estates which housed the extremely rich, while shacks of mud and straw surrounded them. Did Jesus ever once say to “take it away” from the rich and famous? No, He addressed the value and virtue of giving not taking. Giving is a flow outward, whereas taking is a flow inward. Now, which one do you think encourages generosity, hard work, self-sufficiency and joy? It sure isn’t the “taking” memo!
Jesus didn’t attack the rich for richness…He addressed the broader point of evil, both as a spiritual power and as the inherent side effect of a broken nature. Jesus knew that the battle was really more against forces that are unseen. He never offered up a pat answer, or a one-size-fits-all remedy. He said at times that the one who had much was more responsible to help others; to another He said that if a man doesn’t work and provide for his family, he was worse than an infidel. Jesus never endorsed being a shirker…only a worker and a giver.
It seems His message is that it is futile to take from one to give to the other. That approach, because of evil and the wickedness of the human nature, will only foster anger and bitterness in the one, and an increasing expectancy of getting something for nothing in the other. If the issues are greed, lust, lies, laziness, ignorance, bribery and the like and they are not addressed, then the only outcome is class warfare and a stalemate between the two. Jesus’ wisdom would have none of that. He taught on the principles of hard work, accountability of behavior, and generosity. So it is not the financial state of affairs that Jesus addressed, for the poor man can lie, cheat and steal just as fast as the rich man. So it’s not so much the money honey, as it’s the morality that needs to be addressed! Endure the fire...it's producing pure gold!
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