TRADITIONAL AFRICAN UNDERSTANDING OF WEALTH AND POVERTY
Teaching on wealth
JESUS TEACHINGS OF WEALTH AND POVERTY: LUKE 16:1 – 32
While wealth is possession of material things such as money or occupation of a high social economic status, poverty is the opposite. It is lack of basic needs such as water, education, food, shelter, clothing, and health.
When teaching about wealth, Jesus taught using two parables. These were:
Parable of the shrewd manager
READ LUKE, 16: 1 – 18
When the shrewd manager realized that his master was going to sack him due to his dishonesty, he asked the debtors to change the amounts they owed their master to smaller amounts. He did this to make friends with a few people who would give him a place to stay after he was sacked. The master praised the shrewd manager and did not sack him. The shrewd manager is praised not because of his dishonesty but because he acted promptly and with great presence of mind in a moment of crisis.
Jesus is encouraging his disciples and followers to make prompt (quick, appropriate, timely) decisions.
They should use wealth to serve God. It should not be allowed to take the place of God. Followers of
Jesus should be honest in small and big things.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Read Luke, 16: 19 – 31
A rich man lived in luxury. At his gates was a poor man, called Lazarus whose body was covered by sores. The rich man did not feed Lazarus. He ate food remains together with the rich man’s dogs.
When rich man died, he went to hell. When Lazarus died, he went to heaven and sat at Abraham/s bosom. When in hell, the rich man was tormented while Lazarus was at peace.
Lessons to learn from this parable
The rich isn’t condemned for being rich but because of his altitude towards Lazarus. He used his wealth for self-gratification and not for service to the needy. The wealthy should realize that it is God who gives wealth and he should be given honor. Riches can hinder the wealthy from inheriting eternal life, especially if they put their trust in riches instead of God who is the source of all wealth and blessings.
search for more