A punch in the gut

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10, KJV)

Greek scholar A.T. Robertson called the above statement “one of the profoundest sayings of Christ.” I’ll have to agree. Nothing punches us in the gut quite like Jesus sticking his nose in our personal business, especially our money (which is under consideration in the context of Luke 16). Jesus didn’t mind going “from preachin’ to meddlin’,” as they say in the country.

The Doobie Brothers used to famously (and repetitiously) belt out, “Jesus is just alright with me.” That’s the truth. For most people, Jesus is just “alright.” He is tolerable. Most people don’t mind rubbing shoulders with Jesus. He was a good man, a generous person, concerned with people and their problems.

But Jesus says some things that get under our skin – or more accurately, that worm right into our corrupt little hearts, to the place we think nobody can see. The Word has not only looked on from above at the very deeds we have done, but has peered deep within to the very motivation behind those deeds (cf. Hebrews 4:12).

Jesus is okay so long as he keeps his distance. He can be hard at work in the Galilee 2,000 years ago. He can go into other people’s houses in Capernaum. He can go to Jerusalem and drive money changers out of the Temple. He can go to the synagogue and expose hypocrites. I’ll stand over here and nod and smile in approval. I might even cheer, “Go get ’em, Jesus!”

But he can stay out of my house, and my garage, and for that matter, my checkbook. That stuff is mine. I worked for it. I earned it. He is not allowed to question the time and money I spend on my hobbies. He needn’t concern himself with my vacation expenditures, or the amount of money I spend on holidays or leisure activities.

Don’t dare implicate me in his death by the way I handle my earthly possessions. Sins like lying and stealing and murder – those are the things that led Jesus to the cross. Don’t tell me that his blood had to flow because I spent more on vacation this year than I gave in to support the local church, or to support mission work.

If Jesus Christ is my Lord, then he is Lord of everything. Everything is his business. If materialism wasn’t a problem for us, would he have spoken so often and so forcefully about it?

You know what you and I really can’t afford? We can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to Jesus’ teachings about materialism. We must do all we can to break the chain of materialism that binds our foolish hearts to this world. For in the end, “whose will [our things] be?” (Luke 12:20, ESV).

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Rick Kelley

I began preaching in Wallace, WV (2000-2002), and worked with the church in Proctor, WV (2002-2004). I graduated from the West Virginia School of Preaching (2004), served the church in Prestonsburg, KY as pulpit minister from 2004-2014, and am currently laboring with the Massillon, OH congregation (2014-present). Outside of biblical studies, I enjoy spending time with my much better half, Samantha, and our six children (Christian, Hannah, Noah, Emma, Evan & Leah). We have an equal parts sweet and goofy Golden Retriever (Max), a rather energetic Australian Shepherd (Mallie), and a very chill Goldendoodle (Moses).

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6 thoughts on “A punch in the gut

  1. Well said, Rick. I am afraid we pattern our lives more after today’s “Christians” that we admire and respect than after the example of Jesus and the teachings of God’s inspired word. We don’t realize how materialistic we really are and how serious that is.

  2. Another good article, brother Rick! Being a good steward is addressed several times in the New Testament. Denying self is one of the key components in being a good steward. The question is, how many Christians are willing to deny self of any material possessions we might “want” to have but don’t need? (Matthew 16:24).

    1. It is indeed a question we must all answer continually, as we will all answer for it eternally. Thanks for the kind word.

  3. EXCELLENT! Powerful!

    On a lighter note, I’ll have to confess that this is the very FIRST time I’ve read the Doobie Brothers quoted in a brotherhood article. ; )

    But you’re absolutely right, Rick. “Jesus is just alright…” for many of us.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Mike. Hope that song didn’t get stuck in your head for too long 🙂

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