I suggest you read Day 1 first, by clicking here.
So, if the doctrine of poverty/penance was not part of the early church, how did it creep into the church and into the minds of many today? It dates back to during the dark ages’ time. A man commonly known as Saint Francis of Assis, is to be credited with this teaching. Born a son of a prosperous merchant named Pietro di Bernardone in 1881/1882, Francis must have enjoyed the very luxuries that he later came to denounce. He even served in the military for his region of Assis, for which he went to war in 1204 AD. It is purported that, when en route to war, he saw a vision that directed him to go back to Assis, and consequently, he would come to loathe earthly things. According to the online article entitled “Saint Francis of Assisi” posted on Wikipedia, Francis went to Rome and” On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter’s Basilica. The experience moved him to live in poverty”. His teaching influenced many followers, including Saint Clare who founded the order for “poor ladies” that was later named the “Poor Clares” in her honor, after her death.
Throughout the centuries up to now, this dark age rooted teaching, has not only continued to influence the church, but has also provided the a lens, through which the world looks at the church, that the church and Christians out to be poor. This mindset, has unconsciously been woven into the fabric of many of today’s world religions to a certain extent. The fallacy of this way of thinking is that it defeats most of, if not all of the values of Christianity.
Jesus said “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 (This can’t be done without money)
Jesus gave the following narrative:
3’ “’When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:31-40
Jesus expected the church to be so well off materially and financially, so that it would be able to take care of “the least of these” of our time. The church is expected to take care of the: hungry, the widows, the orphans, the neglected and the poor. This is not just to sit down with them and have a pity party with them, but to give to them something tangible to meet their need. Without the church at large and Christians individually prospering, what Jesus commanded believers to do, care for those in need, would simply not be possible. Romans 10:14-16 states, “14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” The preceding scripture about a preacher being able to preach to those who have not heard about Jesus, depends on someone being able to financially support the preacher, and sending him to preach “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” The church and believers need to be financially prosperous in order to be able to do the sending.
God does not want us as His children to be poor because He, “….hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Psalms 35:27
He does not want to us to be sick because “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” I Peter 2:24. God does not want anyone to go to hell because He says, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11. Any doctrine or teaching that is contrary to the aforementioned, is simply out of sync with scripture, and with the Gospel our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Stay tuned for Day 3 blog next, “God’s will for all mankind – The Salvation of our souls”.
Model Prayer: Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Dear Jesus, come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I am sorry for my sins, and I ask you to forgive me, wash me with your blood, and give me your Holy Spirit to teach and guide me. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you believed and prayed the above prayer, you are now a born again child of God.
I would love to hear from you and will be more than glad to be of further spiritual assistance. Feel free to email me at: email@example.com
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Authored by: Pastor Godfrey Twahirwa
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Note: Unless otherwise indicated all the scriptures used are from the King James Version of the bible.