Christ the Capitalist..

Wealth is always a distracting factor in the relationship between man and God. Jesus emphasis this: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34. Bible in general is a socialistic themed book. But Jesus always followed a different path from those traditional Jews concepts. In gaining and keeping wealth also Jesus kept a different perspective.

It may be a socialist idea to share five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:41) among five thousand.   But he supported the disciples when they picked up twelve basketfuls of bread and fish. Jesus even pays tax from nothing related to property. rich-young-rulerHe asks Peter to fetch fish and pay tax . Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. Matthew 17:27.

Many people visited Jesus faced a common question, one question which disturbed their minds for years. It was simple and direct “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” But the answer was most difficult to accept, something very hard to digest. To be perfect he has only one way to show, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:16-30. Jesus even rejects rich man by saying it is hard rich men to enter kingdom of heaven. Symbolism of a camel through eye of the needle is very familiar to Jewish people, one from their daily life, close to their life, a powerful easily capturing symbol. An in this instance he never says ‘whoever has ears let them hear’. So something more important, even a dumb also must hear.

Then the question is who is rich? In general anyone who have possessions are rich. Clearly it is not money. In the parable of Rich man and Lazarus the rich man was not convicted of his wealth. Luke 16:19-31. camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needleBut because of his possession of ego, selfishness, rashness, desire and lust he booked a place in Hades. It is clear to travel through the pass to heaven, where the gates are small and way is narrow, we cant carry any gears on our shoulder. We have to give up the possessions. So to get through the ‘eye of the needle’ we have to be slender.

The slandering process is not only physical. Transformation of Peter is a good example. The ego of Peter helped him to walk through water and make a famous remark about Jesus. But his ego starts to melt with just one glance from Jesus, with a dramatic background of a rooster crow. Luke 22:54-62. And it fine-tuned with three question of affirmation of his love on Jesus. Yes, there is lose of possessions – Samarian woman lost her water jar near the well and lost her five husbands. Zacchaeus lost his high seat, he was asked to come down from the fig tree. St John of the Cross narrates this poverty in Dark Night of the Soul.

So we can be a capitalist keeping a socialistic mind. Losing everything or detaching to everything is painful. Job suffered a lot by losing everything including his sons. Richness or poverty is in our soul. That is why Jesus said: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20. And may be that is the difficult part in practising Christianity.

For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.


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