The THOMAS Web-Zine
November 2009 Issue 21

Money and Wealth

Once we realize that the sayings of Jesus captured in the logia of the Gospel of Thomas have deeper meanings beyond our understanding on their first reading, we can begin to explore the profound teachings of this Great Master.

Just take logion #95 as a simple example:

Jesus said:
If you have money,
do not lend at interest,
but give it/to him who will not return it. [#95]

In this saying Jesus refers to the giving of 'money' without an expectation of any return. This teaching has been literally manifested as charity. Churches encourage our charity both for themselves through tithes, and giving towards others. In the UK we will shortly be subjected to the month-long marathon of demands from 'celebrities' for the BBC "Children in Need" appeal. Such appeals play on our emotions with the promise of 'entertainment' as a reward for our giving. This is not to criticize the motivations behind such charitable events, but the manner which they manipulate the public. And all this relies on our charitable nature installed at an early age through Church, parents , and society.

But in logion #95 Jesus must have meant more than being a selfless money-lender or simply being charitable.

Money infers wealth; when we have enough money we consider ourselves to be wealthy. As the gospel is about the Spirit, not about 'good living, then this wealth is related our own spirituality.

Logion #95 now can be read that when you have enough spiritual understanding (wealth) then share it with others without any concept of reward. Jesus warns us however, that we need to have discretion to whom we give our 'pearls'

Give not what is pure to dogs,
lest they cast it on the dung-heap.
Throw not pearls to sows
lest they make them filthy. [#93]

He also has a swipe in logion #63 at evangelical preachers common on many TV stations especially in the USA.

Jesus said:
There was rich man
who owned much wealth.
He said:
I will use my wealth
in order that I may sow and reap and plant,
and fill my storehouses with produce
so that I lack nothing.
This is what he thought in his heart;
and that night he died.
He who has ears let him hear! [#63]

Such a person who uses his spiritual wealth to 'fill his storehouses' kills his own spirituality by such actions. Jesus emphasis this danger with his 'pay attention' phrase: 'he who has ears let him hear'

If you return to the very start of the Gospel where the first few logia lay out the premise of all his teaching, you will find in logion #3 the opposite of wealth: 'poverty'

Jesus said:
. But the Kingdom is in your centres
and is about you.
When you know yourselves
then you will be known,
and you will be aware that you are
the sons of the Living Father.
But if you do not know yourselves
then you are in poverty
and you are the poverty. [#3]

Jesus is quite clear: if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty. And the cause of that poverty--the lack of wealth--is yourself.

We started with a straightforward saying in logion #95 and came full circle to the reason for the lack of our 'wealth': the inability of us to know ourselves.