John 12:4-9 – “But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.” NKJV
I recall years ago hearing Billy Graham say that God told him to “Not touch the money”. He was talking about integrity and how money has corrupted too many men who began right in the pursuit of the purposes of God. I have observed in my decades on this terrestrial ball that MONEY and POWER are two of the most deadly elements man faces in any area of life. There are other things that are destructive but those two are in the top tier to be guarded against their negative influence.
Do not understand me to say that MONEY in itself is evil for that is not what Jesus declared but rather THE LOVE OF IT is where the root of evil resides. POWER is not bad in itself but if allowed to whet the appetite for control over others it becomes deadly spiritually, socially and politically. The writer of Ecclesiastes declared, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” (5:10).
The Bible tells us that where the treasure is the heart is there also. If MONEY and POWER become so valuable to us they become dominant objects we pursue they will become corruptions in our character. I firmly believe that God wants his servants well taken care of. I also know that there is a lurking danger of allowing the appetite for the lifestyle of the “Rich and Famous” to override our heart of charity and understanding of the purpose of both MONEY and positions of POWER.
I have been told more than once that as a preacher I should keep only a minimal amount of my money and give the rest to the poor. I have been attacked when the congregation I was leading spent money on the facilities and told that we were to keep everything minimal and the rest should go to the poor. Jesus addressed that, in a sense, when Judas displayed disgust over the act of worship and extravagance when Mary took costly oil and wiped the feet and hair of our Lord. Jesus considered what she had done an act of worship and faith and it is clear from the passage that Judas cared less about the poor than the money. Jesus said, “…the poor you have with you always…”
I personally do not believe that our places of worship or our lifestyles should be so extravagant they repulse and demonstrate a lack of awareness and concern for the plight of those around us. It would be difficult for me to adopt a lifestyle of living in the lap of luxury when I see so many needs presenting themselves daily. I preached along this line once and was told that I had a ‘spirit of poverty’. I prayed about that and the Holy Spirit assured me that was not true. My desire to bless others, have my needs supplied, live comfortably and maintain a tender heart overrides any appeal that lavish wealth affords brings joy to my heart. I want the Power of the Resurrection in my life to combat the forces of hell and the wealth of the wicked in my hands to advance the purposes of God.
God bless you as you go through this day!