Yes, that’s right, he was a rich kid. You will say, but he was born in a manger, was the son of a carpenter, had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20) and his parents couldn’t afford the regular purification offering after childbirth (Luke 2:24, Leviticus 12:8) and you would be right. But I still say Jesus was a rich kid.
Thing is, there was something about Jesus that had nothing to do with how much money he had or what type of clothes he wore or what type of people he hung out with or what kind of places he frequented, something that separated him from other people of his social class.
It doesn’t take too much observation for one to realize that rich kids are not all about their money, but often about the worldview they have as a result of having lived on the other side of town.
Rich kids don’t face life the way poor kids do. This is a fact. When put in the same situation and under the same conditions, rich kids will act much differently than poor kids and this generally stems from the character they’ve harvested over years of fighting battles differently.
I say battles because rich kids have battles to fight too. Make no mistake. It somehow slips our minds that they have challenges to face because they have it easy and everything goes their way. But the reason things seem to be going in their favor is that they don’t have to face these battles alone.
Take a rich kid and strip him of all his money, what do you think he’ll do? He’ll get some more. Why? Because his dad is rich. As long as he has his dad, he’ll always be rich because his dad is the source of his wealth.
Rich kids tend to live in the shadow of their dads. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead of letting insecurity and identity crises get the most of them, they can benefit from the advantages of having a rich dad to ease their way into life. They make use of their dads’ connections, resources and power to greatly bolster confidence and make things happen for them.
Not to say at all that poor kids can’t make it through life and can’t break out of the circumstances they find themselves entrapped in. Potential, talent and determination play a big role of course and poor kids have a tendency to be more resilient than rich kids because they had to face the harsher aspect of life and they mostly had to face it alone.
This is where, in my opinion, the problem lies – having to face these battles alone. Poor kids don’t have rich dads they can fall back on. They don’t have rich dads whose connections they can use to get out of tight spots or resources they could take hold of to go places.
In our society we champion a self-made man, someone who made it in this cruel world all by himself with the help of no one. We all want to be self-made men and women deep down.
But I don’t find this at all in the character of Jesus. Instead, I see someone who was so dependent on his father that he had no shame in admitting: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19 ESV). I see someone who knew exactly his identity as a beloved son of an infinitely loving and generous father, someone who knew that everything that belonged to his father belonged to him also (John 17:10).
Jesus demonstrated perfectly the true heart of a son and he wanted everyone around him to share in the sonship that he had. Jesus knew that he was the son of the king of the universe and he wanted everyone to have that same identity as him. He didn’t let his financial status define his identity because he knew that even though he was the son of a carpenter, his true identity was found in his heavenly father and somehow he wanted everyone to know that fully well.
When faced with a hungry crowd of five thousand, Jesus so nonchalantly threw the task of feeding them on his disciples saying, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37 ESV) as if expecting by now that they had gotten the picture of how great their father really was. Did he not know he was asking poor men who had no more than five loaves and two fishes to feed a crowd of five thousand? Later on on a different occasion, when the disciples noticed that they had forgotten to bring bread, Jesus rebuked their lack of faith saying, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” (Mark 8:17). It’s as if he wanted them to wrap their minds already around the idea that God was their father and they will lack nothing but they were just not getting the picture.
Jesus rested assured in the fact that the whole world belonged to his father, therefore the whole world belonged to him also. If his father created the wind and the sea, then Jesus could command the wind and the sea to calm. If his father spoke the universe into existence, then he could speak water into wine. If his father gave life to all beings, then he could raise people from the dead. If his father can heal diseases, then he can heal too.
Having grown up on the left side of the spectrum, I personally struggle in implementing this in my daily walk with God. I struggle to make the transition from an initial life in poverty to a life in the richness of God. I find it hard to stay constantly reminded that I am not alone to face the troubles of the world, especially when my mood is greatly affected by the amount of money I have in my pocket or the amount of bills I have left unpaid.
I’ve recently come to realize that even though I have a very rich dad, I still live under the mentality of having a poor one and this sadly dictates the way I view and interact with everything around me. As a result, I feel limited in resources, I worry when I’m short on money, I feel afraid when I don’t know what to do and more so I feel many of God’s blessings over my life being locked and the one holding the key is none other than myself. For too long now I’ve been hitting against this ceiling that just won’t go, blocking me from the fullness of life I have in Christ.
This has to change. There is no such thing as a poor Christian. I am rich because my father is rich. Whether I’m eating sushi every week or squeezing mustard over my cereal because I’m out of milk, I’m rich; not because I have money, not because I can wear designer clothes and not because I can drive a fancy car, but because my dad is rich.
I can have all the money in the world but still think like a poor kid. Many a man are like that, people whose wealth is their money but go through life as poor kids: alone, afraid and limited. This, in my opinion, is the difference between a rich man and a rich kid. A rich man ceases to be rich when he loses his wealth, but a rich kid can never cease to be rich. As long as he has a rich dad, he’ll always be rich; and I have the richest dad there is.
(My dad owns the universe, beat that!).