Family And Wealth
There are quotes in the Gospels from Jesus where he is saying things like carry your cross if you are to follow me, he is talking about walking away from family, he is quoted as saying abandon wealth and choose God. What does all this mean? Are people to actively seek death? Are people to walk away from family? Are people to stay poor? These quotes often get misinterpreted.
First, look at the context. Look at how much harder life was not just in terms of material conditions, but also how much tougher it was to walk in the path of God back then. People lived under brutal occupations.
If it is a choice between the earthly life and everlasting life, of course pick everlasting life. Stay true to the path of God. That is still the message. But hopefully now 2,000 years later the conditions are less harsh for many people. You secure your place in heaven, stay true to the path of God, and live a good, full life here on earth. Staying true to the path of God makes possible a great life right here on earth.
If it is a choice between God and family, of course stay true to the path of God. But hopefully now 2,000 years later most people don't face that choice. It is not either or. Even back then the idea was that staying true to the path of God is what creates space for family in the first place. You have to get your relationship with God right before you can get your relationship with your family right. If you can have a great relationship with God that puts you in a position to have a great relationship with your family.
God rails against idolatry again and again in the Old Testament. Krishna preaches detachment in the Geeta. Both are the same thing. People often scoff at stories in the Old Testament as stories involving ancient people, low in technology, who did not know any better. But it is amazing how applicable the Old Testament statements against idolatry are even today 2,000 and more years later.
Modern day idolatry is that your net worth is completely tied to the toys you own. What does that mean? Are you to stay poor also today?
If it is a choice between wealth and God, pick God, every single time, also today. Yes, but of course. But that is not an argument against wealth creation. It is just that you should never switch from worshipping God to worshipping wealth. To worship wealth is idolatry. Wealth is a false god.
But staying true to the path of God actually puts you in a position of genuine wealth creation, tremendous wealth creation. Krishna said, live a full life, fully immersed, but in full detachment, always remaining conscious of God.
The irony is, the Jesus quotes that get misinterpreted point you to a path, a path of staying true to the one true Living God that not only gets you an everlasting life but also a great life right here on earth in the here and now. It is a path that will give you the best possible family life. It is a path that can take the world to unprecedented wealth creation if the world can come together and achieve Universal Spiritual Centeredness.
The first shall be last and the last first. The richest on earth will not see on earth what the poorest on earth will see in heaven.