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Christian Views on Wealth and Poverty

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Poverty and deprivation are viewed as the greatest hindrances to any form of development in
society. Almost everyone believes that wealth is the ultimate state of comfort that each should
achieve. This has led many to a constant search for wealth through various means. However, the
Christian view takes a twist that is quite different from what most people have always thought
regarding wealth and poverty. The basis of all these is contained in the Christian Holy Book, the
Bible.
Christians believe that the value of a person should neither be judged by their actions nor the
amount of wealth or money or possessions that they have. In the New Testament of the Holy
Bible, Jesus taught that wealth encourages selfishness and greed, and does not give a man true
happiness as most people tend to believe. Christianity teaches that wealth can sometimes be used
in carrying out good or evil, thus, not a bad thing in itself. According to the life and teachings of
Jesus, it is revealed that God has a special kind of love towards the poor.
In the Old Testament, God is brought out as giving instructions that those who had more should
share with the poor and under privileged in the society. In Deuteronomy 15:11, it is written that,
‘’There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed
towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.’’ From this, it is easier to see

that God Himself acknowledges that the society is made up of both wealthy and poor people.
However, directs those with wealth to use it towards showing love and compassion to the needy.
In the times of Jesus Christ, the Bible reveals that there also existed the wealth and poverty, in
fact, his life was one dotted in abject poverty. His parents were poor to and even at the time of
offering for his presentation at the temple, they gave an offering of the poor. However, he did not
despise the wealthy and even welcomed rich men like Zacchaeus, Nicodemus and Joseph of
Arimathea. On the other hand, the Bible also documents Abraham and Job among the rich men
who served God with diligence.
In his teachings, Jesus was not condemning riches or wealth. The only thing that he preached
against was the love of money or wealth. This is the same avenue that Christians too are
expected to pursue when it comes to wealth and poverty. The teachings of the Pharisees and
Scribes were contrary since to them they thought that materialism or being wealthy was a sign of
God’s blessing. However, all these were proved to be just myths by the teachings of Jesus Christ.
According to the Christina view, wealth and poverty are just but mere earthly standards and
groupings. God only looks at what is in a man’s heart and not material wealth since he says in
Genesis that at the end of it all, man shall return to the soil where he came from barehanded.

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Reference:
http://ict.adventist.org/vol_28/28cc_343-362.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/rs/poverty/christianityrev2.shtml
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