“This just in, Jesus has just responded to a man who asked him to act as an arbitrator in a financial dispute, an inheritance issue if I understand correctly, issuing in response some sort of general statement regarding possessions and wealth. Rachel, are you there? Rachel…? We go to Rachel who is on scene now.”

“Hi Ben. That’s right. I am on the scene somewhere outside Samaria with Jesus.  As our viewers might recall, he is claimed by his followers as a Messiah and they have been gathering energy and followers as they travel south. I am here with Jesus now as he and his followers move towards Jerusalem in what some are calling an “Occupy Jerusalem” movement.  Jesus himself has spoken of wanting a “new Jerusalem,” but has been weak on details as to what this means.”

“Rachel, can you talk to the man? Is Jesus nearby? What does he want? What are the issues with respect to possessions and wealth?”

“Ben, yes, yes, I am drawing near to him now, but people are crowding around him, people who do not take seriously the role of the media in reporting truth…he might want to think about creating some sort of bodyguard, a group of 12 men, let’s say, to keep him from the people, but I see him now….Jesus, Jesus…”

 “Rachel?”

“Yes, I almost touched the hem of his garment, but I have here now the man who asked about the financial markets. Sir, what happened?”

“So, I heard Jesus was into justice and fairness, so all I said was to ‘tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me,’ you know? A simple act of equity, but Jesus was all like, ‘friend who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And I was all like, “Uh, you, if you’re the Messiah,” right? I mean doesn’t the Messiah want equity? What the hell. What is this “Occupy Jerusalem” movement if not about sharing, right?”

 “Thank you Sir…oh, there he is now? Jesus, against equity? Against equity?”

 “Rachel, Ben here, please take care, the crowds seem to be pressing in on all sides…”

 “Rachel, I am Jesus, I heard you were looking for me.”

 “Yes, what is the point of your movement; do you not want equality in wealth and finances? Are you for wealth or against it?”

“Rachel, I am all in favor of equality and economic justice. I just ask my followers to beware. I said, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’” I know they want food, I know they need work and money, but they need so much more.”

 “Jesus, what’s your point, then? Do you want economic justice or not?”

“Let me tell you a parable: The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God." He said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.’”

 

“Jesus, what does that mean?  What are you getting at? It sounds like he made the right economic decisions to maximize profits. Should he share the wealth? Should we ask for economic equity here on earth?”

“Look, Rachel, I am concerned with the fate of every soul, whether wealthy or not, but if you are hoarding money and not sharing with your neighbor, what’s the point? If you want to be rich towards God, share the wealth. Sooner or later we all die. What's the point of the money? The poor need it. I know a man Lazarus, who begs at the gate of a rich man – his name escapes me – and he just wants some food. How do you let people starve, while you get to feast every day with your friends? Why hoard wealth while people need work?”

“Is it that simple Jesus? These things are far more complicated than that. Markets, government policies, tariffs, free trade agreements, taxes, tax rates… Jesus can you speak so definitively on wealth and economics when you really do not seem to have a grasp on the economic system? These people have earned their wealth. This money belongs to them.”

“Well, Rachel, I suppose that is one way to look at it, but I think of all things belonging to God, who desires not only that all people be saved, but that all people eat and work.”

“Ben, there you have it. Simplistic economic formulas from someone who wants to “Occupy Jerusalem”…

“Actually, let me clarify something, Ben and Rachel, I don’t want to “occupy” Jerusalem, I want to make all things new, including Jerusalem, and you and your neighbors and friends, but this depends on a new attitude towards wealth as well. Caring more for our neighbor than wealth…”

“As I said Ben, simplistic economic formulas which frankly seem unworkable. Back to you in the studio Ben.”

“Thanks Rachel. A word from our sponsors and then a panel of experts to rip apart, that is, discuss, what Jesus said.”

John W. Martens

Follow me on Twitter @johnwmartens

Comments

Anonymous | 10/29/2011 - 2:34pm
John,

I did not mean to make any claim about you but rather to draw a distinction between a  person following the Way and a governent forcing people (with a threat of force and jail time) to follow the supposed way.

I am greatful that you are preaching to individuals because it is individuals by their free choice who will either go to heaven or hell.
Anonymous | 10/29/2011 - 8:18am
I don't think Jesus threatened to come to your home with guns and throw you in jail if you don't give your money to the politicians so that the politician can give it to their business friends and union friends in the name of social justice.
Maggie Rose | 10/26/2011 - 4:48am
your advice did the trick, beth. muchas gracias. i had overlooked that 1/5 arrow before. but have it spotted now. living long and learning more. ;-)
Beth Cioffoletti | 10/25/2011 - 12:43pm
I just shared it on my facebook page, choosing the photo of the America magazine cover rather than the child.
I pasted the link to this article in the "status" box at the top of facebook, and then I had 5 photos to choose from to accompany it.

THANKS - great article.
Maggie Rose | 10/25/2011 - 3:20am
wow. well done. i would like to share this on facebook but do not want to frighten off people with the picture of the child who died of starvation. a real issue to be sure. but i want the article not that rough image for the facebook share. any suggestions of where else i can find this post w/o the extra guilt?