Luke 12:13-21: The Problem of Money
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Luke 12:13-21: The Problem of Money

This passage includes Jesus telling his followers, “Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”
I am not sure how proponents of the “Prosperity Gospel” reconcile their message with this passage, but it seems to me clear that Jesus is discouraging followers to amass wealth and instead trust that God will ultimately provide. That being said, we can readily see what happens to many people who do not have sufficient savings to hedge against a period of unemployment. They often lose their cars and their homes and they suffer social humiliation. Many people who articulate trust in God still have money in the bank and 401(k) plans.
I think one reason Christians admire Jesus is that he accepted poverty and even accepted painful death in faithfulness to God. There are at least two major barriers to our emulating Jesus’ path. First, many of us have families who depend on us, and we don’t want our faith in God to result in their suffering. Second, we are tempted by the many available goods and services that promise to make our lives much more pleasant.
I think we should strive to serve God faithfully, which means avoiding consumerism and helping those we can. It is crucial that we do our best to be honest about our motives when our lives are becoming excessively self-indulgent. People are remarkably prone to deceive themselves about their motivations. Some decisions are more difficult to discern than others, but a relatively obvious one is diet. Very few of us need to eat animal products, and avoiding them significantly helps God’s animals, God’s earth, world poverty and hunger, and our God-given bodies. If we sponsor harming God’s creatures unnecessarily, we are clearly seeking the kingdom in our bellies rather than in our hearts.

Go on to: Luke 12:49-56 Did Jesus Come for Peace?
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