What Money and Our Goodness Have in Common

In Luke 14, we hear that large crowds are following Jesus. This is prime time for Jesus and his teaching.

During this period, Jesus makes some pretty surprising points. To almost anyone’s natural way of thinking, the things he says are certainly counterintuitive. He says things like this…

  • When you attend a party, take the most undesirable seat in the house.
  • When you throw a party, don’t invite your friends or family members.
  • If you’re not prepared to suffer when you follow Jesus, then don’t bother.
  • 1 lost person deserves more attention than 99 already-found people.

Yikes! Really?! Does anybody actually live like this? Want to be even more convinced of how different Jesus’ teachings are? Here’s another one…

  • People value stupid stuff.

In Luke 16, we read,The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:14-15, NIV).

Jesus tells the Pharisees (apparently scattered amongst the people in the large crowds that followed him) that no one can serve both God and money. And in doing this, he also takes aim at the Pharisees’ desire to “prove” themselves worthy of God by generating their own goodness. Because the Pharisees thought they could generate their own goodness, they highly valued that goodness (or righteousness) — just like they highly valued money.

In our culture today, money and human goodness still have this in common. Both of them are highly, highly valued. But God says they have another thing in common. Not in culture, but with God. Both of these, in and of themselves, are worthless to him.

The only way to make our money or our goodness worthwhile is to delve into the heart. That’s why Jesus tells the Pharisees, “God knows your hearts.”

The Pharisees hoped to elevate themselves with their money and goodness. The Christ-follower’s heart, on the other hand, seeks to elevate God with money and goodness.

What a difference the “why” makes! Ask yourself: Do I use my money and my goodness to elevate myself, or my God?

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, April 14, is Deuteronomy 21:1 – 22:30, Luke 16:1-18 and Proverbs 9:13-18.

Lord, help me to know how to value things the right way. Help me to see that my money and my goodness both come from you. You generate them in your grace, not me. And help me to use both as blessings to thank and glorify you — to elevate you rather than myself.

Header image based on "Money" by 401(K) 2012, CC By-SA 2.0