The Monday morning blog posts were previously called Monday Launch. They were devotional articles involving various Bible verses regarding various thoughts relating to money and stewardship. However for the next several months, I am going to go through the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John chronologically and comment about any verse that involves money and stewardship. In my personal journey it has been helpful to me to consider the new light that Jesus shines on money in his selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions.
The first mention of currency or precious metals used as money is Matthew 2:1-12, I’ve highlighted a few sections I find helpful:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
When Jesus dropped on the scene of humanity, not only was Herod disturbed but an entire city. I never noticed that anyone beside Herod was bothered by idea of fulfilled messianic prophecy. When change happens, people first wonder how it is going to impact them personally. I know if there is a change in leadership for companies I have worked for before, people fear all types of change, for they worry about finances, fairness and politics. Those with the most to lose fear the greatest, as did Herod who ended up killing all new-born males. He didn’t want to lose his position of power and wealth.
In stark contrast, the aliens of the land, the Magi traveling through the country side were overjoyed at the idea. They gave extravagantly to Jesus out of their joy, worship and expectation. They didn’t squeeze out a few token gifts, just barely opening their purses in a dark corner so no one could see what they had. They opened their treasure chests and gave generously. They didn’t have to wait for a guilt lined lesson, or someone preaching the blessings that will flow back to them if they present a faith-gift. I don’t think the Magi counted the cost, how it might affect their financial standing, they didn’t worry about what others would think, or about thieves if someone saw their wealth.
This blessing was meant for Jesus, yet I imagine it helped this young couple financially who would be carrying and caring for Jesus, since they were a poor young couple who couldn’t afford nice accommodations. I think the same analogy may apply to us today, if we carry Jesus in our hearts and lift him up as a priority in our lives. Sometimes our financial results are a direct result of our hard work and wise financial decisions, yet it is often out of his grace and love of us that he provides extravagantly.
I think I’m too often like Herod since I count the financial cost of Jesus coming into my life, but I am challenged by the Magi who are overjoyed by what he will do to us and the world we live in and want to give whole heartily to him?