Christian Beliefs About Poverty
29 SEP 2017
In Christianity, poverty and a humble life help bring individuals closer to God. Wealth isn't inherently evil, but greed causes people to act in their own self-interest and distracts Christians from helping others. The Bible encourages all of humanity to share in God's wealth and help people in extreme poverty and situations of need.
1 Wealth and Poverty
Christianity discourages pursuing wealth for its own sake and accumulating large sums of money. In the Bible, Christ taught that it was difficult for a rich man to enter heaven, and that those with money should use it to help people in need. This does not mean that Christianity requires individuals to become impoverished themselves, rather it teaches that it's better to live modestly, purchasing what you need and not taking more. It's important to realize the distinction between choosing poverty voluntarily, which is a virtue, and finding oneself impoverished with no other choice.
2 Covetousness and Poverty
Another reason that Christianity discourages wealth can be found in the Ten Commandments where God condemns the idea of covetousness. Even if a person lives a life of poverty, he should not covet the wealth of his neighbor. Instead, Christianity encourages people to take stock of what they have and express gratitude to God. Even in poverty, individuals can find joy and the love of God, and Christians believe this love is more valuable than earthly possessions.
One of the principal Christian beliefs concerning poverty relates to the idea of charity. Christians believe in helping people in need, and this extends beyond simply sharing your wealth and giving to charity. Moral Christians should also help the poor in any way they can; even if they don't have much money themselves, they can volunteer or provide food to the needy. Self-sacrifice for the benefit of others is one of the tenets of the Christian faith.
4 Priests and Nuns
In Christian denominations such as the Catholic Church, priests and nuns take a vow of poverty. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, priests and nuns dedicate themselves to a simple life where they can help people in need. This vow of poverty also prevents members of the church from becoming distracted with material things, and encourages them to focus on God and their ecclesiastical duties.