by Andrew McColl, 28/4/2015
- Anyone who argues that Jesus did not invoke personal self-interest has an inaccurate understanding of Jesus’ teachings on wealth. Specifically, with respect to the accumulation of personal wealth in the form of capital, Jesus was adamant: a person has both a moral responsibility and a legal responsibility to accumulate capital. This is an aspect of the dominion covenant. It involves redeeming the world, i.e., buying it back in the name of God.
To buy it back requires accumulated capital. The alternative interpretation is that we must re-claim it by force. This is not part of the New Covenant’s view of capital accumulation. It only happened once in the Old Covenant: the conquest of Canaan (p.151).
When Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you…” (Luke 6:38), He was invoking self-interest. He was effectively saying, “It will be good for you, to give. You will profit from this.”
We do not find in the Bible the idea that poverty is good for you. We do find the promise of prosperity for those who are faithful in doing God’s will. (See Ps. 112; Deut.28).
We are not to “weary ourselves to gain wealth” (Prov.23:4), but that mustn’t preclude us from being hard-working, diligent, productive individuals, planning for the future. “Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening” (Ps.104:23), for what purpose? “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Prov.13:22).