Two thousand years ago, the Son of God sat down on the side of a mountain and began to teach one of the most beat-down people groups the world has ever known. They were oppressed by the Romans, loaded down by their priests, and crushed by their home-grown despot king, so bent on retaining power that thirty years earlier he’d killed every one of their sons under the age of two on the rumor that one of them might take his place.
Imagine their surprise when Jesus opened with these words: “Blessed are the poor…”
Really? How could they be blessed? And why, of all things, start with their financial position? This is not what they had walked miles to hear. They were looking for someone to cast off their oppressors, restore their kingdom, and save the day. Jesus was off to a terrible start.
But here’s a news flash for you. Jesus meant for His advice to be terrible.
Terrible. Webster defines terrible as “strongly repulsive,” but also “very shocking and upsetting” and “formidable in nature.” The root word is terror, from which we get terrific, terrifying, and terrible. And if you want Jesus’ financial advice to parallel what we teach in business school, you are looking in a terrible place.
To be sure, Jesus tells us to be responsible. But he says so much more. “Give to everyone who asks”? You’d be broke in a day. “No one can serve … both God and money”? Do you even have a choice? Anyone who has real questions about money and listens to Jesus’ financial advice will be left saying: “God, increase my faith.”
So what are we missing? In a word: purpose. Jesus’ purpose, that is.
Jesus came to this earth for one main purpose: to glorify His Father. To restore a true picture of who God is, to the praise and glory of His name. Everything He did and everything He said was to show us His Father. We come to Him with our sick and our sin, our dying and our dead, and, yes, our money problems. And Jesus meets us right where we are. He meets our needs and feels our pain. And then He redirects us to what we really need: His Father.
Jesus’ financial advice goes far beyond getting and giving, to every facet of living. God continues to increase our faith. We see more and more how He really will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
Jesus’ financial advice turns from terrible to terrific as He flips the tables on everything we thought we knew about peace, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness.
What will you do with Jesus’ terrible financial advice?