Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the money course. We’ve been on a a journey for several weeks now looking at first of all, some very practical principles around money and basic budgeting practices, and then we shifted gears in the last couple weeks to Jesus’ teaching about money and how Christians, followers of Jesus, are called to think about money.
Money and Christianity can be a difficult topic. There are so many preconceptions out there in our world about how Christians think about money. People have had their views jaded by stories they’ve heard on television and in the media in general about charlatans who have been looking to get rich off the good news about Jesus. There have been stories of people stealing off the offering plate in churches. There have been stories of people committing fraud. The list of modern day examples goes on and this is actually nothing new unfortunately.
There were people abusing the good news of Jesus Christ in order to make profit for themselves long, long ago. Two key stories in the Bible. Probably the best known is the story of Judas, one of Jesus’ followers who was … Basically sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. He led the priest and the temple police to find Jesus and arrest him on the night before his death. He had been the treasurer, he had been the one in Jesus’ closest circle who was taking care of the purse, of the money. It seems that the close proximity to that shared treasury eventually got the better of him and he gave in to temptation and decided to profit himself off the demise of someone else. That kind of thing unfortunately still continues today.
Another story later on in the Bible, in the Book of Acts, happened when a magician noticed what followers of Jesus were doing. He was actually baptized by Phillip, one of the apostles, who thought that his conversion was genuine but then later on he actually asked Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends, if he could pay for the privilege of doing what he thought looked like magic tricks that the apostles were doing. He wanted to pay for the right to heal people in Jesus’ name.
It showed that he completely missed the point, he completely missed what it meant to follow Jesus and was such a grievous offense to the apostles that it’s still a crime in many churches or denominations to pay for ordination; to be a minister, priest, or pastor. Or to pay for communion, the bread and wine that Jesus offered to his followers. Or to pay for baptism. These are considered sacraments, they’re supposed to be free gifts of grace from God. It’s considered a crime in many of those churches to do that and the crime is called simony.
I just mention these examples to show that wherever good things happen, there are those who try to abuse it and take advantage of it or profit from it. It’s nothing new, it’s been going on a long time, and it doesn’t negate the goodness of the act in itself. The fact that people want to abuse healing and profit from it doesn’t mean the healing is bad. In the same way, although you will hear stories of churches and ministries where people have been defrauded, where people have given money and then the money has not been used for the right purposes and so on.
You’re going to hear stories is what I’m telling you, about finances and the church and don’t let it completely turn you off. There are always going to be people who abuse good things and it doesn’t mean that the thing itself is no longer good. Particularly in the case of the church, when it does proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, that is a good thing in and of itself. We want to fight abuse wherever we can. We don’t want to write it off and say, “Oh well, it happens so forget about it.” We want to stop it whenever possible. However, we want to just keep the eye on the prize here. The good news of Jesus is good even though people have found ways to abuse and profit from it.
We’re going to just think a little bit in today’s question about how this course has changed your perceptions of what it means to be a follower of Jesus when it comes to money. Have you been swayed by the stories of those who have defrauded people, of those who have tried to profit from preaching, and so on? Stories of televangelists who were just in it for the money? What have you been swayed by in the past? How are you feeling about it today that we’ve had a chance in the last few weeks to explore some of Jesus’ words, some of Paul’s words, just some of the words in the Bible and the principles that are taught in the Bible when it comes to money and possessions.
Question: Where have you thought about Christian teaching on money in the past? What sources informed this? How have your perceptions changed through this course?
Discuss it with someone else and consider taking another course after this one. We offer several courses; marriage, parenting, and introduction to Christian faith, and our daily challenges, of course. Have a great discussion and I’ll see you in the next course. Bye for now.