You may have heard that Jesus taught more about money than He did about love. In fact, the only thing He talked about more than money and possessions during his time on earth... was the Kingdom of Heaven.
But Jesus tailored His message about money depending on the audience— it wasn’t one size fits all. Financial planner and teacher Rob West explores Jesus’ teachings about money with economist and author Jerry Bowyer.
Jerry Bowyer is our resident economist here at MoneyWise and a much sought after speaker and author. He is Chief Economist of Vident Financial, he consulted with the Bush White House on economic matters and is a frequent contributor on Fox Business.
We quote Jesus’s teachings about money and possessions a lot on MoneyWise but we’ve never addressed them quite this way that they weren’t always uniform. It wasn't the same message for everyone. Jesus was a pastor and a pastor tailors his message for his audience.
Put this in historical and geographic context for us. Different people or places got different messages?
Different people have different needs and problems and likewise need to be confronted differently.
And people with different occupations that Jesus encountered— how did he treat them differently?
When Jesus was in Galilee, it was mainly small family businesses and farms and he never had confrontations with them over money. As he moves south near Jerusalem, his messages changed to include money because of the wealthy inhabitants.
Jesus gave the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 an extreme command— sell all you possess and give the money to the poor. Why that message for him?
Because he'd gotten that money by defrauding the poor.
When He got to Jerusalem, he confronted the money changers in the temple. Why?
The confrontation with the money changers is often viewed and a confrontation with business people but he confronted them because they had a corrupt government monopoly. They also were over-charging for their goods and services. Finally, there was an inherent exploitative step in their process of money-changing.
As Christians— how should we view wealth?
God owns it all.
God gave you the power to create wealth.
You do not have to feel guilty being a wealth creator.
Over the years, politicians and members of the clergy have used Jesus's passages to make people feel guilty creating wealth
Jesus is targeting religious manipulation and corruption in his passages.
Next, Rob and Steve tackle listener questions at 800-525-7000 and via email to Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org on a variety of topics:
- If you truly wish to tithe but have credit card debt, should you pay of the debt or tithe or both?
- If you're about to receive a large lump sum, do you just write a large check to the church to cover your tithes?
- If you're mid-sixties and heard that you should keep working after retirement age but want to retire, what should you do?
- If you're a senior citizen who's just sold their house and plan on down-sizing, how should you spend the money?
- If you're receiving a bonus soon, should you put it in a 401(k) that matches at 25% or put it toward $14,000 of credit card debt?
- If you know someone who is experiencing health problems and want to help, can you give your tithe to them instead of to the church?
- Should you take money out of your savings or keep paying on it monthly?
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