Public Domain Image.
Image Description: $5, $10, $20, and $50 bills laid on top of one another.
Jesus talked a lot about money and material possessions. Like, a lot. Almost more than anything else. The most frequent topic in his teachings is the Kin(g)dom of God. But right after that, it’s money.
He taught about money all the time.
And contrary to what the 1% and today’s prosperity gospel leaders might teach, Jesus did not discuss how to get wealth and hoard it. He did not tell people that their personal worth was dependent upon particular possessions. He did not advocate that people give money in order to get much more in return.
And he did not uphold or promote an economy of extraction. In his day, the Roman Empire occupied his land, taxed the people exorbitantly, and marginalized the poor. Wealth moved from the masses to the few.
No, in his very first sermon, Jesus spoke about his calling through these words of Isaiah:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he included marginalized and oppressed people in everything he did. He empowered their leadership. Alongside them, he walked on foot around Galilee and Judea and taught quite a bit about greed and wealth.
It seems that part of our collective liberation involves freedom from greed and the trappings of wealth. Perhaps we need to talk more about this too. . .