1 Timothy 6:5 (NET) And constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making profit
Jesus was once teaching and then someone made a request to Jesus mid-teaching asking him to persuade his brother to divide their father’s inheritance with him. At face value, his request sounds okay and understandable. But Jesus clearly didn’t share that view as He asked him “Who appointed me a judge or arbitrator between you two?” and then he went on to speak to his audience, “watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed” (See Luke 12:1-15). It was on the occasion of this interaction and the strength of the warning he issued that Jesus went on to give the parable of the rich fool. A question goes begging for a response… what was wrong with the man’s request?
Firstly, what is covetousness and how serious a sin is it anyway? Covetousness is greed, and it is a manifestation of idolatry (in this case, the worship of money) (See Colossians 3:5), it is powered by Mammon, a force/spirit behind the love of money. Jesus, and indeed the apostles, gave grave warnings concerning this. Jesus taught that one spirit seeking to dominate man and exercise a counterfeit lordship over man as opposed to the His Lordship is Mammon. He declared, “You cannot serve God and Mammon” (See Matthew 6:24). But how is it so?
It is because money (possessions, pedigree, wealth, qualifications) is supposed to serve as a tool for a man who is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus. However, so pervasive and corrupting is the power of Mammon that when it has a grip over a heart, it exercises lordship and then God becomes a convenient tool in the hand of the Mammon-possessed man to further his ends. You will see this play out in the life of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15), Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:18-21), and such men as were described by today’s text.
You see, Jesus was a man of great wisdom and insight and he could perceive that this man making the request simply wanted to make Jesus an arbitrator to his benefit. He had prepared the job description of this role independent of Jesus and simply gave him a letter of appointment at the spot for his benefit. He is not alone in this attempt. Many have crowned Jesus protector but not Lord, provider but not Lord, matchmaker but not Lord, avenger but not Lord, even healer but not Lord. By this, it means that they see Jesus as a service provider, a trustworthy and good one, but He doesn’t call the shots in their life beyond the job description they have assigned him in their own minds.
Jesus is no for-hire service provider, He must be Lord or nothing. Men who live to satisfy their own desires and further their lot in life have crowned Mammon Lord and will seek every opportunity to add God as one of the most potent tools in their arsenal and this is a highway to destruction.
Take the warnings of Jesus to heart today. What is Jesus to you, tool or Lord?
Go into today performing a careful heart-check and ensure that: Jesus is Lord!
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