Get knowledge or you will remain a slave. Without a proper search for the truth, you remain a slave. Jesus taught more in his time and giving knowledge was more important for Him than working miracles. He even said that miracle seekers are perverse people.
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God never wished us to be poor, vulnerable, destitute, etc. He wants us to live well, happy and glorious. At creation, He gave us Eden; in eternity, we will enjoy a painless life. It is unreasonable to conclude that a loving God who lives in glory will locate us in a miserable life of shame and suffering.
Suffering is not to be desired. Enduring suffering for the sake of Christ does not render suffering an inherent good. The fact that we can create and recycle refuge does not make rubbish valuable. There is value in suffering does not mean suffering is valuable in itself. Unless the process is evil and contrary to God’s Word, we must, as a matter of duty, seek to eliminate all forms of suffering and pains.
Unconsciously, same pious Christians who promote good healthcare, solid education, empowerment, and decent life for the poor are the same people who get suspicious of the rich and well to do.
Condemnation of evil means of acquiring wealth should be seen in the same light of condemning examination malpractice, false prophets, and corrupted politicians. In the same way as we motivate and encourage academic excellence, authentic Gospel ministration, and Godfearing civil leaders, so must we encourage and promote and motivate decent creation of wealth, genuine search for comfort and the promotion of a good life.
Gospel sense of “poor in spirit” is not a call to wretchedness and physical poverty.
Materialism is bad but making money and building a decent life is godly. If we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, etc, then that God cannot be an enemy of prosperity. We are not banned from being wealthy for spiritual poverty is not wretchedness.
The Gospel guides our lives. We are not mere capitalist controlled by the principles of capitalism; we are not materialistic but we know that God created, for us, the visible and invisible.
We are body and spirit sustained by prayer and social-economic interventions. Even the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is not governed by prayer alone. The Church universal, each Diocese, Parish, Institution have financial teams and experts, create annual budgets and raise funds. It is Christian to do same for your family and life.
Jesus expects us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, house the destitute, care for the sick, visit and comfort prisoners, etc. If the faithful do not create, manage and sustain wealth, these activities would be impossible. Don’t be afraid to be rich; only make Jesus both the first principle and the center of your life. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you.
Just think about it, Samuel’s father had the capacity to organise annual pilgrimage and feasts, Saul’s father had working servants, David’s father possessed sheep, Elisha was called at his working place, Joseph had a profession, wealthy women accompanied Jesus, etc. Never glorify material poverty. In our next article, we will look at “The courage to be a pious, rich Christian. May God make us rich and prosperous.
Authored by Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare (Obuasi Catholic Diocese)