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Form 4 CRE lessons on Christian approach to wealth, poverty and money
Christian teaching on poverty in the New testament (7m 58s)
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Christian teaching on poverty
Poverty in the New Testament
-In the New Testament, poverty is understood both from a spiritual and social-economic perspective.
-The poor are the devout, humble, honest and faithful people who depend on and trust in God.
-They are also the economically and socially disadvantaged who lack food, shelter, clothing or are despised because they are sick, handicapped, being Gentiles or women.
-Jesus can be considered as one of the poor as he did not have any possessions.
-In his days, the poor were also the simple, devout
people like Simeon and Prophetess Anna who spent their whole lives serving God in the Temple (Luke 2:25).
-Being poor was more of a religious distinction rather than an economic one during Jesus’ time, although the idea of material poverty was present.
-The poor are considered privileged in the Gospels.
-Jesus identified himself with God’s promised Messiah whose mission is to the less fortunate, to whom he proclaims the end of their suffering. “….The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…”
-Jesus called his disciples to renounce the world and material possessions.
-To follow Christ therefore, means to give up all and share in Jesus’ self-denial.
-In the sermon on the mountain, Jesus focuses on religious or spiritual poverty.
-When he says ‘blessed are the poor’, he means the humble, hard working, pious
people who look to God for their redemption.
-Jesus called upon his disciples to give without counting the cost (Luke 6:30, 34-35)
-He also taught that the wealthy must show concern for the needy by sharing what they have with them as a criteria for inheriting God’s kingdom.
-Saint Paul, in most of his letters, advised wealthy Christians to be generous and help the poor.
-Today the church as an institution and Christians as individuals have in many different ways attempted to respond to the plight of the poor in their midst.
-They have responded by initiating welfare and development programmes in education, social work and pastoral care.
-Some Christians like nuns, priests, monks have given up material possessions and taken a vow of poverty.
-They do not own anything individually but live communal lives and devote all their time and energy to help the poor.