“However, it’s necessary for me to travel today, tomorrow, and the next day because it’s impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33 CEB)
By the same token, I can’t think of an instance where Jesus told his followers to act in their own self-interest. Instead he taught the disciples that they must take up crosses, that only by losing one’s life does one gain life, that following him meant giving away all that one had. These are words to convict the heart of any Christian.
Much of what is preached as gospel, at least in a North American Protestant context, has to do with avoiding hell and achieving heaven. It’s a pain and pleasure principle writ large into eternity. Self-denial, when it is proclaimed at all, is for the sake of a greater bliss in the next life. Much of what is preached as gospel, at least in our individualistic Western culture, is about “me and Jesus.” It’s about self-interest.
And I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I don’t think Jesus ever acted from self-interest, or told his followers to do so.
Illustrating this post is Hieronymous Bosch's painting of Jesus carrying the cross.