There are many Christians who are wealthy and who spend their lives seeking to build their material wealth. There are many contemporary biblians and Christians who preach a very popular 'prosperity gospel' whose basic message is 'God wants you to be materially wealthy!' The people of the world chasing after material wealth - money, wealth and the perceived material security it buys - is surely one of the things that most human beings spend their lives doing. The term "worship" is derived from the simple English concept of 'worth' or 'worth-ship', thus, that which is worth the most to an individual is that which he/she 'worships'.
Due to Christianity's errors, what is not widely known is Jesus/Joshua's position on his followers and how they should treat money and material things. The Real Light of the world's position is not widely known because it is very unpopular and goes against our natural inclination to store up wealth for ourselves or for others who we believe we might get something back from or whom we believe we are obligated. Simply put, the disciples of Joshua will live a very different life regarding how they view and manage money and material things and how they live their lives with those views at heart.
Here are the primary principles he teaches regarding money and material wealth for his followers:
1. We share what we have with other disciples, thus, we are complying with four principles Joshua provides regarding this matter:
a. "A new command I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you; for this is how the people of the earth will know that you are my disciples IF you love/care for one another" (John 13:34-35) (See article, What is love?);
b. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal..." (Matt. 6:19);
c. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25);
d. "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God...But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full." (Luke 6:20, 24);
Material things and currency are not evil, but they do provide a strong temptation to be in bondage to them, which temptation can be overcome by our sharing with others. It is very easy to deceive ourselves and say, 'I am not ruled/controlled/influenced by money', but the proof, so to speak, is 'in the pudding' which pudding is SHARING...and not just 'convenience sharing', but everything we have got. Sharing with others is a significant part of what it mean's to love other people, and the lack of sharing with one another among the Christians is perhaps the greatest evidence of their not listening to Joshua of Nazareth;
2. It is not so much how much money or how many material things one controls or 'has in their possession', but rather what matters is that we share what we have with other disciples and that we practice giving, not storing up. As disciples, what we control materially comes and goes, ebbs and flow, but our practice is to share and give, not to be selfish which would mean to take and store "for myself". Since this is true, a disciple will not store up large amounts of material things for themselves;
We do not live a life characterized by having better material things than the average person around where we live...we seek to live simply - not 'materially above' our neighbors - and to use the material things we have in a non-wasteful, wise, selfless manner.
The following illustrations will help you understand principle two above.
Illustration: Part 1
Two men are sitting around a camp fire in the woods. They have left living in areas with other people in order to 'get away' from the 'wickedness of the world'. Each believes that they have 'forsaken all' in order to 'follow jesus' and as such, they gave away almost all of their material possessions before going into 'the wilderness'. John has only the clothes on his back and two cans of beans. Bob has only the clothes on his back and three cans of beans. Both John and Bob are biblians and claim some kind of Christian label. John bitterly resents that Bob has one more cans of beans than he has and Bob refuses to share his third can of beans. They spend most of their time talking about bible stuff and a good bit of that arguing over bible doctrine.
Two neighbors live next to each other in a normal 'middle class' neighborhood in the U.S. Each have about the same amount of material things like their house and car etc. Rachel and Ryan are disciples of Joshua and they share their house with other disciples and other neighbors in need. They have what is considered a "three bedroom, single family house", but they have four other disciples living with them and they use their only other bedroom for the occasional down-and-out young women they find in the city who needs help. Ryan and Rachel share everything they have with the four other disciples and they are doing well trying to love their neighbor as they love themselves - thus they are living out the "new command" as well as second greatest commands. Furthermore, since they are living selflessly like that due to their faith in Joshua and his Father, they are also fulfilling the greatest command.
Next to Rachel and Ryan are Bonnie and Harry. Bonnie and Harry are 'church going Christians', and they don't share anything they have like most other Americans, and if they do any significant sharing, it is only with blood or legal relatives. They live a life indistinguishable from the 'atheists' next door and the 'agnostics' across the street. They are not living out the new command, nor are they living out the first or second greatest commands even though they profess to 'love God' and 'love jesus' regularly.
Rachel and Ryan are disliked by their neighbors for the 'unconventional', 'weird', and 'strange' way they are living and sharing their material things with non-relatives, but they are most disliked by the Christians who consider and treat Ryan and Rachel like 'religious fanatics'. In contrast, Bonnie and Harry are well liked by their neighbors, held up as 'model citizens' and 'good church going people' since their selfish life-style affirms their neighbors selfish life-styles!
Question: Who is doing better listening to Joshua - John or Bob, who have 'given everything up for the lord', or Ryan and Rachel?
3. We don't 'work for money', rather, we work for our Father and Joshua, the Greater work, while we seek to minimize the lesser work of providing food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and others, thus we comply with what Joshua means when he says:
a. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." and;
b. "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on him the Father, God, has set His seal. ".
This does NOT mean we don't accept money or material compensation for some of the work we do. This does not mean we don't plant our gardens for food to eat or build structures to live in or do work for someone and receive payment for our work to buy something we need. Rather, it means our motivation for the work we do is not to become wealthy or to store up wealth or to be materially secure. Rather, we do the greater work to serve our Father and our Master and the lesser work to:
a. Provide the things we need for life on this earth for ourselves and thus not be burden on others;
b. Provide for those we share his Life with;
c. Help needy neighbors.
The primary manifestation of this truth is that we cannot have work or 'a job' apart from a Joshua Family that regularly takes up the majority of our day and yet has nothing to do with doing Joshua's work...that situation is normally called 'a career' or a 'vocation'. If we are not participating in, nor being part of, nor actively looking to become part of a group of disciples (or Family of Joshua), then we are not submitting to God's Leader (His Son) and are likely serving money or ourselves. To not be part of a group of people who are sharing their material things and sharing Joshua's Life and doing his work, is to disobey his new command, "A new command I give to you, that you love/care for/share with one another as I have loved/cared for/shared with you; for this is how the people of the earth will know that you are my disciples, IF you love/care for/share with one another". This is the most important principle that is to be lived out, so we can call ourselves whatever, but if we are not obeying his new command out of love for our Master and Father, then we are not following the Real Joshua of Nazareth.
Contrast the above truth to 'Christian ministry' and 'church' where such a concept is completely foreign and very much rejected and despised. Trying to actually love other people is anathema to the comfortable (selfish) American Christians who love their life in this world. Those who try and live out the new command will be labeled by the religious people as 'cultists' and 'heretics' out of the fear the religious folks have for the Light and his Way.
Furthermore, if we are not serving God through our Greater work of brining our Father and Joshua to others, then we are not submitting to God's Leader (His Son) and are likely serving money or some other thing. Please listen to him in that regard - "Those who ignore me, I will ignore before my Father who is in heaven, while those who acknowledge me as their Master, I will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven." Matt. 10:31-33
The current biblian/Christian religious system is based on a model that is foreign and alien to Joshua. That model of 'ministry' or 'church' has one or a few people 'at the top' (minister, pastor, reverend, priest, and other paid staff) and the majority of the people doing virtually nothing except listening to speeches, singing songs and giving the leadership money. That model is anathema to Joshua's new command and the Families he came to build...truly, that which calls itself 'the church' is no different than any of the world's social clubs or 'societies' like the Rotary Club or the Elks Lodge or the Masons or the Moose Lodge or the Knights of Columbus, etc.
The simple truth is that whatever we love supremely, we will talk about. If we have in fact been saved from ourselves and out of the darkness of a life with little or no love or faith, then we will be compelled, out of love, to talk about our Father and our savior/master. All disciples tell other people about the Light and all disciples seek to build the Family and thus the Kingdom of God....the kingdom of love, truth and rightness. If we are not actively working to bring his Kingdom to pass, then we are not submitting to God's Leader (His Son) and we are likely serving money.
This author has traveled some and has seen how the United States is held up by many people in non-industrialized nations as the best nation to live in due primarily to the material abundance that U.S. citizens enjoy. The U.S. government turns down millions of requests by people to live here and become citizens, even while hundreds of thousands seek to enter the nation illegally in order to partake in the material security and abundance the U.S. provides.
The U.S. does have some things about it that are favorable and preferable to other alternatives. It remains one of the most-free places to live on the earth. The rule of law remains fairly strong, but is fading quickly due to a turning away from the moral principles that a majority of 'god-fearing' religious people once held.
The capitalistic system, while intended to be greed motivated, can work well when the people are not greedy and are instead generous and looking to help others...this too is fading quickly due to the people's selfishness.
For those who don't have Joshua as their Leader, the democratic political system does still allow some degree of freedom to choose one's government leaders, although that too is fading quickly due to the corruption of the people turning away from even sound moral principles. All one has to do is to look at other 'democratic nations', especially in Africa, to learn that 'democracy' is not the root level thing that people need to do well. Africa is full of 'democratic nations' even while those nation's people are living a subsistence life due to the greed and corruption of the leaders of those nations. Sad that people cannot see that the U.S. is headed right down that hole due to the people turning away from even a sound and shared moral standard. Turning away from a shared moral standard and a common belief in some kind of god-accountability will lead to destruction due to human nature.
But I digress a bit. While this article is about 'money' and how disciples handle it, it obviously has larger implications. We disciples were never intended to be part of the nations of the earth. Yes, we would live in them, and yes, we should be grateful for every good thing those nations provide. But we are to be FIRST, the model for mankind to see....groups of people living as human beings are supposed to live! And as noted on this web site, LOVE is to be the difference between we disciples and the sad, dark world we find ourselves in. How we handle the money and material things we get to control for a short time has everything to do with whether we actually "follow Joshua", or not.
There are many well intentioned people many of whom are sincere in their desire to "forsake all for jesus". They have sayings of Joshua which they reasonably use to justify that belief and attempted behavior. But as we saw above in the illustration regarding John and Bob, they oftentimes are missing the most important principle that Joshua teaches - love. They also do not do the best job in trying to understand ALL of Joshua's sayings that have a bearing on this important issue. Sayings like the one in Matt. 19 and Mark 10:
Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”
That is perhaps the most balanced, high level, broad context saying of Joshua in the four gospels regarding the critical issue how disciples are to order their lives on the earth. He teaches that following him will mean having to give up natural/legal relatives and houses and farms/businesses, etc. that you had while in the world and living according to the world's principles before you met Joshua. But he also teaches that IF OTHER PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO HIM AND DO WHAT HE SAYS, then his disciples will have each other and the material things each possesses and brings to the new Family "in the present age". Thus, we will not be 'homeless' but rather have a new Family - "brothers and sisters and mothers and children"; and a new place to live, "...in the present age, houses...farms".
So, those of you who are going around preaching that a person must "forsake all" in order to follow jesus, meaning they can have no possession or control over any material thing, you are wrong. You also cannot avoid hypocrisy, or you will spend much wasted energy in trying to avoid hypocrisy. It is FAR BETTER to spend your good passion and zeal on concentrating on the major things, not the minor, and The Major THING is love! A person who is abiding in our Father's love does not walk around in self-pride saying some form of, 'I have forsaken all, how come YOU have not?'. More importantly, a disciple does not ask people to 'be homeless' or some other such thing, but rather to walk away from the things of the world that prevent us from following the Light. Disciples do the greater work of proclaiming the Real Joshua's gospel and fulfilling the new command by building or contributing to the building of Joshua's Families...they will help others to do what Joshua says, NOT challenge them to while not being willing to truly care for people. All other things will flow from those two things.
If we cannot love our friends, we surely will never be able to love our enemies, and if we will not share our stuff with other disciples and thus fulfill a large aspect of the new command, then what makes us believe we will lay our lives down for them?
Much more could be said about money, but this short article contains everything that is needed for the peaceful revolution to be reborn once again. If we are not sharing our lives and our stuff with other disciples, then we are not following the Light of the world, and thus we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
For those of you who are zealous to strictly keep what you think is Jesus' teachings or "forsaking all", please read Love or Zealousness?
Please, turn away from what at some level you know is empty - a materialistic or religious life-style - and instead, become part of the solution and part of the peaceful revolution.