Opposites of One Another: Jesus and The Love of Money

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Luke 6:24-26 — There was once a song by Paula Abdul called “Opposites Attract” back in the mid-80’s. In the video she dances with the coolest cartoon cat ever. The only reason I mention here is that it was about opposites not to mention it was just one of the coolest videos of its day. But I digress. We must get back to the point.

Luke 6:24-26 is the opposite of Luke 6:20-23. We move from blessing to woes. We move the blessings upon those who are poor in spirit, those who are hungry, those who mourn, and those who are reviled and persecuted for His name’s sake. In this passage, we have their complete opposites.

Here, Jesus continues to set conventional wisdom on its head. One would expect that wealth, having sufficient resources, laughter, and good reputation among men are all things that we should seek after. Jesus says that the opposite is true in the heavenly realm. Today, we look at the woe to those who are rich.

Woe to you who are rich for you have received your consolation. What did Jesus just say? Being rich is wrong? How can that be? In America, monetary wealth is worshiped. Even we Christians fall prey to this idea. If we could just get these bills paid off, we will be happy. We often fall prey to the American dream ourselves. The big house, the two nicest cars, recreational toys, vacations in the finest places, debt, debt, debt. The lack of money can lead to the worship of money just as easy as having plenty of it and worshiping that I have plenty. So, we know that the worship of money when you don’t have enough leads to unhappiness. In our culture today, we manufacture money with credit cards. We enjoy the spending but don’t think about paying it back. We want immediate satisfaction of our desires now. We do not want to save for the future. You only live once used to be a saying. Now, it is you only live once so leave your children with all your debts. At some point, the mountain of debt we have created will come crashing down and will make the recession of 2008-2011 seem like a walk in the park.

Even if we do get clear of these things we and have all the money that we need, money in and of itself does not lead to happiness. Those who are often the most unhappy people in the world. Just watch the tabloids and news magazine shows, those that are wealthy whom we seem to idolize are some of the most empty, vapid people you will ever meet. Chasing after something that is not there. The party lifestyle. Toys. Toys. And more toys. Wasting money frivolously on things that don’t matter. Seeking but never finding. For both those who worship money but have any and those that worship money because they have too much and those that have just enough but still worship what money can do, the bottom line for this type of person is the bottom line. Those who worship money have already received their consolation. Their consolation is the emptiness of wealth. Their consolation is seeking but never finding. Their consolation is that they worship something that is not eternal. You can’t take it with you. Earthly wealth disappears at the latest when you die. It is not to be worshiped. Wake up. Learn that having all the newest toys and the highest debt makes you a slave to money not its master. We cannot take our toys with us to our eternal destination.

Is Jesus saying that I cannot be wealthy and be one of His followers? No. That is not what Jesus is saying at all. Jesus wants us to be rich in the right things.He wants us to be spiritually wealthy. Even if we are wealthy by earthly standards, we can be a Christ follower if we use our money for the kingdom. If we have the right priorities with our money, we can a great asset to the kingdom. If we have more concern about feeding our neighbor who is down and out than about keeping our money, we are kingdom oriented with our money. If we are wise with our money and not let it rule us, then we can be effective kingdom warriors. If I have a mountain of debt trying to keep up with the American dream, can I really be effective for the kingdom? If I can’t help my neighbor because I have selfishly accumulated a whole bunch of toys that I can’t really afford nor need, can I really be effective for the kingdom. How much do we have to accumulate? Were you not just as happy when you were fresh out of school and had nothing. Aren’t most of your greatest memories from those times? And when you think about it, those memories are about the people and not the things.

For the last 4 years, my wife and I (since we have been married) have been paying off debts instead of creating them. We want simple. We want to get by on less and enjoy our lives more. We want to be able to adjust to less income when God calls us to full time ministry. Are you ready for your mission field or is money in the way? Are you a slave to your current debt structure or are you the master of it? Does your debt make you happy? Does your wealth or the lack of it make you happy? Jesus says there is something else beside the American dream. There is the eternal dream. Are you letting money rule you? Are you so in love with things that you cannot see your fellow man in need? Maybe you can see your fellow man but you can’t help him because you are a slave to money. Make it and give it to your debtholders. Rinse. Repeat. Jesus wants you to be free. Jesus wants you to think on things eternal first. It is surprising how freeing it is when you think about Him first and His work and His kingdom first and earthly possessions second.

The rat never wins the rat race. The rat race is not winnable. Think on kingdom things first. There is freedom in that. No longer do we have to have the finest of everything. We become content for the first time when we step off the rate race wheel. Let Jesus occupy your first priorities and everything else fall in line. Seek ye the kingdom first not money.


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