Poverty as mentioned in the New Testament

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Toma, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Friends,

    What do you think of the command of the LORD to the rich young man, regarding possessions?

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. ~ Matthew 19:21

    Some have used the passage to justify Monasticism & Asceticism for all men, arguing that the preceding verses are the Ten Commandments, which are binding upon all. Others argue that the LORD was speaking only to this man and all those like him; i.e. those who easily attach inordinate importance to material possessions.
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I found a quote about this from one identified as Hodge, who I assume to be Archibald Hodge (+1886) or Charles Hodge (+1878):

     
  3. mark1

    mark1 Active Member

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    Many folks tend to ignore one of the Commands or the other. We all are called to care for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the discriminated against, the prisoner and the broken hearted. Many of us ignore this social gospel.
     
  4. Incense

    Incense Active Member

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    This is like the famous chapter of Corinthian 13 :)

    This year one of the thing I've been trying to live simplicity. It is more ramified than one can think...
     
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  5. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Bonhoeffer made a good point in "the cost of discipleship that by giving up your possessions you may be following a Christian ideal rather than Christ and thus become more enslaved to self or an ideal

    When I read about the rich man, he's one of the most likeable people in the new testament, he seems a genuinely decent guy and keen to find out how he will gain eternal life. Jesus points him to the commandments. I can imagine his sigh of relief. But all these I have kept! What else? He doesn't realise his shortcomings before God. To keep the commandments requires perfect obedience to God. Christ has already called attention to His divinity by pointing out he calls Him good, so I think when He tells him to give up all his possessions and follow Him he is showing the man his inability to perfectly follow God. Also Christ gives the gospel call!. Give up all this world has to offer and follow me. Mark mentions that the phrase"take up your cross" in his account of the story. This really brings out the cost of the gospel call! Its not easy. Its no wonder the rich man turns away. Jesus says its impossible for a rich man to enter heaven.

    The apostles's response is interesting. They say "who then can be saved?" They interpret Jesus' words as relevant to them. We are all rich men, feeling the pull of the world. Its impossible! We're slaves to this world. But Jesus gives the words of hope - with God all things are possible! He alone sets us free!
     
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  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Great point SK. I thought of Bonhoeffer's words on this as well. I don't have my copy of Cost of Discipleship handy, but I think the conclusion he came to was that while we don't have to give up our possessions, we should be willing to do so if called to.
     
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  7. Incense

    Incense Active Member

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    This was so timely Consular, today the gospel we read at Church was the one where Christ puts the good on the side and the bad on the other and telling them that when he was sick and naked and poor and prisoner and they served him and it got me thinking about this thread, how to follow Christ will be to waste a life in service of the little ones! A poverty in the heart, a true knowledge that we have nothing that is from us and all, ALL, good is a gift from above and it only get nice and flourish when we share it!
     
  8. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I feel Jesus was speaking to this man as an individual, but I also feel it was also a big hint to the rest of us. We all read in the beatitudes.
    “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Mat 5:3
    but tend to ignore Lukes parallel verse 6:20

    Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
    Is Jesus hinting that we (and by that I mean you Christians :) ) should be poor . Surly you are not meant to concentrate on material wellbeing or as Matthew put it;
    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven..... Mat 6:19-20