Christ’s Example

Jesus had many other things to say about money. He taught, however, as every disciple-making minister should, by His example. He preached what He practiced. How did Jesus live?

Jesus did not amass earthly riches, even though He could have easily exploited His situation and become extremely wealthy. Many gifted ministers have wrongly assumed that if their ministries attract money that God must want them to be personally wealthy. Jesus, however, did not use His anointing for personal gain. Money that was given to Him was used to make disciples. He even provided the needs of His traveling band whom He discipled.[1] In our day, young disciples most often have to pay their own way to be lectured by older ministers in Bible schools. Yet Jesus modeled the exact opposite!

Jesus also lived a life of trust, believing that His Father would supply all His needs and bless Him so He could supply the needs of others. Sometimes He was invited to banquets to dine, and other times we find Him eating raw standing grain from a field (see Luke 6:1).

On at least two occasions He provided food for thousands of people who came to hear Him. How different this is from modern Christian conferences where everyone who wants to hear the speaker must pay an entrance fee! We who provide free food for those who attend our ministers’ conferences are sometimes even mocked for “paying people to listen to us.” In reality, we’re just following Jesus’ model.

Jesus also cared for the poor, as His group kept a moneybox from which distributions were made. Giving to the poor was such a regular feature of Jesus’ ministry that when He told Judas to work quickly as he departed from the Last Supper, all the other disciples assumed that Judas was either going to buy food for their group or taking money to the poor (see John 13:27-30).

Jesus truly loved His neighbor as Himself, and so He lived simply and shared. He didn’t need to repent at the preaching of John the Baptist who said, “Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none” (Luke 3:11). Jesus only had one tunic. Yet some prosperity preachers try to convince us that Jesus was wealthy because He wore a seamless inner garment (see John 19:23), something supposedly only worn by wealthy people. It is amazing what significance can be found in a biblical text if someone wants to prove what contradicts numerous other scriptures! We might just as well draw the equally-absurd conclusion that Jesus was attempting to hide His wealth, as He didn’t also wear a seamless outer garment.

Jesus had much more to say about money that we don’t have space to consider. Let us, however, consider a few more of the common teachings of modern prosperity preachers who are so adept at twisting scriptures and deceiving the gullible.

[1] Prosperity preachers often use this fact to prove that Jesus’ ministry was prosperous. There is no doubt that God supplied Jesus’ needs so He could accomplish His mission. The difference between Jesus and the prosperity preachers is that Jesus wasn’t selfish, and He didn’t spend his ministry’s money to personally enrich Himself.