Jesus taught in Luke 6 and his opening statement is shocking to his audience.
He states, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
The poor? The Isrealites are like Americans, they looked longinginly after those who had plenty: plenty to eat, plenty of work, plenty of friends, plenty of influence.
Then they looked at themselves and felt inferior; wondering why their lives didn't measure up.
The most amazing thing about Jesus is that he takes the prevailing mindset and turns it literally on its' head. He took the most despised thing: being poor and said that these would live the kingdom of God.
Being poor no longer meant standing on the fringes, looking in.
It meant being included at the King's table.
Being poor no longer meant shame, in Jesus' kingdom, it meant support and honor.
Jesus includes his next teaching, "Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort."
How does this strike you? It hits me between the eyes. It makes me recognize that in order to live in Jesus' upside economy, I must hold my wealth loosely, with my hands open and ready to give when my King asks. It also helps me to realize that having the privilege to have money directly connected to mission will increase my joy of giving. When I have faces, names, stories that are attached to the funds I have given, it connects my heart.
Ultimately, this is what Jesus wants: our hearts. For no one can serve both God and money. Blessed are the poor for their is the kingdom of God.