Jesus had a lot to say about the homeless, wealth, prosperity, poverty, riches, the poor, the needy and giving. Here is a compilation of everything I have found. It is worth reading this to get a sense of what Jesus thinks about wealth and what He requires of us.
But here is John the Baptizer weighing in as well. John is the cousin of Jesus. He came to pave the way for our King.
I should listen to him.
And the crowds asked him [John], “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”
Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” —Luke 3:10-14
So John is clear. If I have something, lets say two coats. If I see someone who doesn’t have a coat, like a poor homeless person, I am to give them, directly, a coat. I am to feed them, directly, if they don’t have food.
John, like Jesus, doesn’t say give to the church or your favorite nonprofit. John doesn’t say Rome and Caesar should take care of them.
John says I should.
End of discussion.
When Jesus speaks about poverty, He knows what He is talking about.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. | 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NASB)
Thus Jesus was born into a family that was part of the lower economic class. We see this material status has not changed 30 years later, during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus’ comments on his own economic status, such as when he said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). The good news narratives bear out this testimony.
It appears that Jesus had very little by way of material possessions during his ministry. Consider the following: Jesus…
- preached from borrowed boats,
- multiplied borrowed food,
- rode on a borrowed colt,
- and was buried in a borrowed tomb.
In fact, most of Jesus’ material needs, as well as those of his disciples, were apparently met by donations from a group of devoted women who accompanied him. In his good news book, Luke refers to “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their means” (Luke 8:2–3; see also Mark 15:40–41).