Jesus wasn’t okay with believers in Him being rich, in fact, he said if you wanted to be saved, sell all your worldly possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him. He threw out the money changers in the Temple because they were ripping the Jews off for items they had to have according to their beliefs. Jesus Himself was not rich, nor did He have money, in fact his family was so poor they couldn’t afford to give him a proper burial. Beyond Jesus, all of his disciples who came the apostles all walked a very poor life, totally dependent on those they met. So did the early Church fathers… in fact, many spoke against being rich, as if greed was not simply enough, but being rich WAS being greedy – For holding on to money (the only way to get worldy rich) was to deny it to ones brother or sister, harkens back to Jesus when he spoke of those who gave to Him, but not directly to Him, and to those who refused to give to Him by not giving to those in need. It wasn’t until Constantine the Great, by using Christianity for his own ends to gain political power, “imperialised” that money, or power even, became an issue. Money always corrupts, which in turn means wordly wealth always corrupt. It makes men above other men, even if they don’t mean to be. To have is to deny to another. If one is blessed to be prosperous in some way, that blessing is given as a means to enable others, but in the end, Jesus Himself said blessed are the poor, not once did he say, “blessed are the rich.” No one needs to live beyond their means, nor does anyone truly need to have means beyond one another. Capitalism is an oppression that for seem reason a large part of Christians have embraced when all it does is cause us to be more and more seperate from one another. Anyone who believes capitalism is a gift from God, or even God’s economic plan, is ignorant, and obviously has not read the New Testament, which had believers share everything in common so no one lacked for anything. In today’s “church,” there are far too many people who lack, and there are too many people who have way more then they need. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, true, but that is more of a service to us then a problem, for it gives those of us who are not poor to help those in need, thus fulfilling our own faith in action rather then just saying we believe. However, instead of grasping this as a matter of faith, we have shunned the whole, and taken a part as a token, to make it appear that we really care, when more often then not we don’t. The apostles did not sell the Gospel, nor did they charge admission, nor was there a charge to download the newest epistle, rather, they sent letters, to their own detriment, to cities where believers gathered and hung on everything these men of God wrote and said. They didn’t travel to and fro in luxurious caravans, they went, many times in chains, with only the clothes (and sometimes the lack of clothes) on their back. They didn’t ask for the latest camel model with the deluxe blue-ray player or gps because they needed to reach people across the known world, they went simply by faith. When Paul talks of running the race, he is reminding his followers, and himself, of the life he left behind – the life of a scholar and warrior, a life of wealth and probably fame, for a life of poverty and certain death. Paul didn’t set up a tent and sell his many letters, saying, “You want to be prosperous, you better buy my book!” Instead, he freely gave his word to all who would hear, and to many who wouldn’t. If the apostles were alive today, they would not be writing books to sell, they would be bloggers, spreading their message for free. If we want to reach the poor, we must be like the poor, and we must be able to share in their poverty, otherwise we will be just another charity giving them a handout. They will appreciate it, sure, but we will never truly reach them. If we want to reach the rich, we need to be their exact opposite, and not only that, but be happy and so satisfied in our poverty, that our love and happiness shines through all of the apparent problems we have. We are told, do not lay up riches on earth, for they are physical and will pass away, but lay up riches in heaven. It is not enough for us to be good people, to give a helping hand, or to speak a good message, we must live the life Christ intended for us. Being good, giving a hand, speaking the gospel is not enough, we must live it. If we are to be poor in spirit, which is to allow God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. if we are to be wholly dependent on God our Father, we must put away the Old Man, the man of sin, the man of the world and all of its vices, wealth included, and put on the New Man, the man of righteousness, and that man, as the Holy Father, Francis, has not only said, but demonstrated, is poor in the world.