One of the most profound aspects of the Incarnation, or "God becoming human", is the fact that He set aside the glory, position, power, wealth, and privilege of Heaven to partake of the weariness, humiliation, weakness, and poverty of earth.
Jesus went from being the King of the universe, to being homeless. But He didn't come to crush these elements we find difficult and distasteful. The things we despise about the human existence were exactly what He embraced in His experience.
We live in a world where there is a broader understanding in culture that we should work to destroy these rough elements. The secular humanists, and even well-meaning Christians say things like, "We should abolish poverty." The notion that we can or should make everyone rich is not the Gospel. Jesus did not come to eradicate poverty... He became poor. He didn't come to solve the problem of being poor. He became poor. His mission was not to make our life comfortable or more bearable. He came to give us life... abundant life, even in the middle of our struggle.
There were plenty of poor people when Jesus arrived. There were plenty of poor people when He ascended back into Heaven after 33 years of earthly life and ministry. Jesus was not a glorified Robin Hood. He wasn't here to bring economic salvation to people. In fact, I don't know of anyone whose financial lot was improved by Christ. You will not find Jesus attacking people simply for being rich. He did not promote jealousy or envy between economic classes. Here is one story about poverty from the ministry of Christ...
While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had a serious skin disease, a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.”
But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for Me. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)
Does that sound like a socialist to you? Does it sound like an economic Messiah? Can you imagine the heat Jesus would take from 'progressive Christians' if He tweeted, "You will always have the poor with you" today? Jesus knew that wealth would not save anyone. He knew that wealth could be as big an impediment to spiritual growth as poverty. These elements do not make or break a saint.
Jesus had seen the most beautiful angel surrounded by the riches of glory turn into a prideful, selfish, enemy of God. Ages prior to Christ leaving Heaven and becoming poor on purpose, Lucifer had also left the riches of Heaven. You see, riches do not make it easier to be a believer. Poverty is not the enemy of man's soul. Jesus did not come to crush poverty, but to refocus our vision toward the things that matter.
If we transferred all of the wealth of the top 10% of the richest people to the poorest person on the planet, it would not come close to reflecting the economic sacrifice of our Savior in becoming man. So maybe we can see Christ's focus when we read the apostle Paul's words, "Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)
Jesus didn't come to tranform our bank account. He came to transform us. He blessed the poor. He preached the Gospel to the poor. He became poor, so we may become rich in the things of God... because poverty does not keep anyone from Heaven, but sin does.
Today, when the opportunity arises to sacrificially bless someone financially, do it. But never try to meet their spiritual need with money.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.