INNER CIRCLE: The Poverty of the Kingdom

INNER CIRCLE: The Poverty of the Kingdom July 14, 2023

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SAYING 63: Jesus said, “There was a rich man who had considerable wealth. He said, ‘I shall invest my wealth so as to sow, reap, plant, and fill my barns with crops, lest I run short of something.’ These things are what he was thinking in his heart, and that very night the man died. Whoever has ears should listen!”


This saying reminds us of the parable from Luke 12:13-20 where Jesus tells his disciples not to be like the rich man who has so much harvest of grain that, instead of sharing his excess with the poor, decides to build bigger barns to hoard his plenty and relax in leisure, only to die that very night. The conclusion to that parable reads: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”


So, we may be tempted to apply that same lesson to this saying from Thomas, but, as we’ve seen many times so far, that isn’t always the best way to approach this Gospel.


Instead, let’s try to read it with fresh eyes and look for hidden meanings that might come more from what Jesus says elsewhere in Thomas’s Gospel than from what he is quoted as saying from the Synoptic texts.


We know from Thomas that Jesus often equates wealth with the World and poverty with the Kingdom – which is counterintuitive in many ways, but with a little reflection makes perfect sense. The World and wealth are about competition, capitalism, materialism and focusing on one’s own selfish desires. Poverty is about learning to be content with what one has and living outside that economic system of the have and have-nots.


So, when Jesus tells us here that there was a rich man who had considerable wealth, he’s giving us an insight into the ways that someone can become distracted by the illusion of separation and how wealth can play a huge role in that process.


His point is that we have a finite amount of time to live in the reality of Oneness, and if we fail to see everyone around us as part of us, and part of Christ, we will have wasted our life, and squandered whatever resources we’ve been blessed with.


This saying warns us of the dangers of remaining asleep and blind to the reality of Oneness and it helps us to see where such a selfish perspective might lead us: into the true poverty of becoming rich in material things without enjoying the wealth of connection with God and those around us who are made in God’s own image.


Sola Deus: What If God Is All Of Us? by Keith Giles is now available on Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle.

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast. Find out more about his online courses HERE>



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