Jesus often talks about money because it’s probably the best tool for revealing the heart. It highlights the obvious pitfalls of the prosperity gospel whilst equally but more subtly exposes the false spiritual facade of the poverty gospel. “It’s very spiritual to be poor” can sneak into our hearts under the guise of humility quite often. Apologising for the Father’s blessing in life is one of many signs of the poverty gospel. To revert back to Jon Sopel's transatlantic perspective, the prosperity gospel is quite obvious in parts of the American church but the poverty gospel not so much. And, in my view it is quietly hidden in parts of the British church.
You can give money because you are genuinely generous while others may part with money because they are guilty for having it! And yes, there are those of us who give away money because we are simply bad stewards of money. It all looks very much the same but Jesus is interested in the heart and what this profound tool amplifies in that deep and protected place.
One very awkward question Hindus tend to ask a Christian when they feel a level of trust has been developed is ”why aren’t you financially blessed by your God?” It’s a fair question now that we know a Hindu’s general worldview on the matter. A Christian can answer by offering the security and sense of significance that Christ offers not just intellectually through eastern-style self-talk but by His Spirit who dwells in the heart of a believer. If wealth is added to that, so be it but one doesn’t chase after or apologise for it.
Detachment from the world or money does not bring the rest, joy and hope that the heart truly cries and craves. An “unaffected mind” brought forth with striving and performance is not the same as the deep Peace th that Jesus wants to offer.
When Mahatma Gandhi was fasting during his ‘Quit India Movement’ he wasn’t fasting in the Hindu context of immolation of the body’s desires. Instead he fasted for those in the British administration, who he believed from his knowledge of the Christian faith, were slaves to money and power. He made this very clear in a letter to Lord Irwin who was the Viceroy of India during the Independence struggle.
He knew that Christians should have one master uncoupled from mammon and if he used Christian principles against a civilisation based upon the message of the Messiah he would stand a far better chance. A Hindu was fasting, for a Christian result. In short, he was fasting in the most un-Hindu way…
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently in January 2024 revealed his weekly fasting routine in the aim of a ‘balanced lifestyle’ so that he can indulge in ‘sugary treats later in the week.’ Not quite the same as Gandhi’s desired result but still a devout Hindu at that and quite unapologetic about his wealth.