Jesus Christ – Comprehension


Wren and Martin Comprehension Exercise 147

Although religion does not inhibit the accusation of wealth, although it does not hold up large fortunes as evil, the tenor of its teaching, by and large, is to induce an attitude of indifference to  worldly things, things which gratify one’s lower self and keep one engrossed in money-making. The student should be made to realize that the real goods of life are spiritual, love of things of the spirit and service of one’s fellowmen, joy of an ordered disciplined life. These are blessings money cannot buy. What is wealth before such things of the spirit? Of all religious teachers Jesus Christ has dealt more comprehensively than any other with the problem of wealth in all its aspects. He may be called the greatest exponent of the science of the wealth. With only four words “Blessed are ye poor!” he changed altogether the values which man attached to human existence and human happiness and acquisition and possession of wealth. Real bliss consisted, he taught, not in riches nor in anything else which the world regarded as prosperity or felicity, but in the joy and happiness derived from being at peace with one’s fellowmen through perfect love and fellowship and selfless service and sacrifice.

The word “poor” on the lips of the Master had a spiritual significance – the poor so far as they were poor in spirit, humble before God, simple, God-fearing, teachable, faithful. It could surely not have been his intention to hold up destitution and privation as a blessing in itself. That would have turned life into a terrible ordeal and it would have been heartless to exhort the poor to believe that money was not necessary for one’s sustenance or the joys and blessings of life. Even things of the spirit cannot be had without money. Extreme poverty is as liable to lead to the stagnation and impoverishment of the soul as excessive wealth. Not outward poverty but inward spirit was what Jesus Christ desired and demanded. Every religion asks a man to regard his wealth as a trust. Giving in charity for the relief of the poor and public welfare is not merely an act of compassion, not merely d religious duty, but also an act of social justice. All the gospels of wealth are based on the fundamental concept that none can claim an absolute or inherent right to property. Everyone holds it in trust from God to promote the good of mankind. AU rights to private property are subject to this primary obligation to God and man.
– R.P. Masani

1. What, according to the author, is the meaning of “indifference”? Is it applicable to all religions?
According to the author, “indifference” means not striving for or being unaffected by. Yes, it is applicable to all religions.

2. Which are some of the real goods of spiritual living? Is it easy to make the student realize this?
The real goods of spiritual living are love of things of the spirit, service of one’s fellowmen, joy of an ordered, disciplined life and simplicity.

3. In what sense can it be said that Jesus Christ has dealt more comprehensively with the problem of wealth? Did Mahatma Gandhi teach a similar doctrine?
All religious teachers, but Jesus Christ, have taught to stay away from worldly materials and money. But Jesus Christ has explained this in detail. He explained by only four meaningful words, “Blessed are ye poor!” No, Mahatma Gandhi did not teach a similar doctrine. Gandhiji taught to speak the truth and stay calm.

4. What do you understand by the phrase : “poor in spirit”? In that case, would it be more perfect to give-away all your belongings and property and live like a pauper?
“Poor in spirit” means people who recognize their own spiritual poverty. It would not be perfect to give-away all your belongings and property and live like a pauper. For, being happy is more important than being wealthy.

5. Describe some of the drawbacks of poverty and show how money is absolutely necessary in life.
In extreme poverty, one needs to be dependent and suffer from many health issues due to incomplete nutrition. Money is necessary in life because it enables education, beautiful things for friends and families and helps us achieve our goals.