Lessons from Luke: all the wealth of the world is not worth your soul
This is another post in the series of articles that I am writing about how the Gospel of Luke deals with the subject of money. The book of Luke was written as a letter from one rich man – the physician, Luke – to another rich man by the name of Theophilus. You can read the first post in the series here.
Last time we discussed the idea of the Christian ethic in all of our dealings, but especially seen in how we handle finances at work and in our household. As we continue reading through the Gospel, we come to the temptation of Christ by Satan. The account is found in Luke 4:1-13:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’” And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory;for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
The intent behind the inclusion of this story in the Gospel record was not a financial one, however, there are financial implications here and certainly instructions for the believer. Here are several thoughts:
- Christ did not try to debate or convince the devil, he simply responded with Scripture. WE do not have to be of great mental capability or have great forensic ability in order to resist temptation. The believer only need to be knowledgeable of Scripture and willing to cling to that Scripture in faith.
- Satan offered Christ great power and wealth. Ironically, these entities were not Satan’s to give. but Christ, playing along with the devil’s presumption, stated that a relationship with God was worth more than the entire world. Does that truth characterize our daily walk?
- If we obey God and he blesses us with money and power, the most important thing is still that we are in Christ. If we obey God and he chooses not to bless us with money and power, we still have Him.
Recently, I spoke to a friend of mine who was going through some tough times both personally and financially. He shared with me that he was sometimes tempted to return to his old life. Before he became a Christian, my friend had been living a life of crime that paid pretty well. Since he had made the decision to follow and obey Christ, things had gotten a lot tougher from a worldly perspective. His old friends and some family had forsaken him, he was struggling to find a job because of his past record, he had to move back in with his parents and then his car was totaled. However, his last statement to me was simply that if God chose to put him out on the street with only the shirt on his back, he would not regret his decision to follow Christ. He was confident that being poor and having a relationship with Christ was far better than having money without Christ.
Obey, trust, count your blessings and sin will have no power over you.
Article by Stew
Photo by Mike Cattell