This Is Not about PreachersNSneakers.
Just kidding, it basically is.
There has been a recent internet-wide conversation about luxury, wealth, aesthetic, material possessions, and their place in Kingdom Building and the Christian Life. I figured my recent illumination on Matthew 27:57-61 was a SHOE IN for my next writing thing (blog).
This conversation has caused me to do a lot of soul searching and go to the Word.
Let’s start with the text mentioned above.
Matthew 27:57-61 | “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.”
This last Easter season, I was re-reading through the book of Matthew to stay rooted in the real story and moments we were celebrating and planning great services for. I came across this text and felt the Holy Spirit illuminate aspects of this story to show me things I had never seen before.
This blog will be a simple short post on INFLUENCE and AFFLUENCE.
Contrary to a line of conversation that positions Jesus Christ as anti-money, anti-popularity, and anti-platform, that’s not what we see in the Bible.
Enter Joseph from Arimathea with enough money and affluence to purchase a new tomb cut out of the rock – a costly purchase.
He had enough platform and influence to talk the Roman Governor Pilate to hand him over the body of a hotly contested local “criminal.”
Your influence and your affluence are not in opposition to God.
Your money and your relationships will only be in opposition to your soul when you refuse or miss opportunities to use them for God’s glory.
Little did Joseph know that his investments and networking would play a part in the resurrection of the Son of God. He was simply trying to be obedient.
God is looking to use people’s gifts, talents, resources, and platforms to bring himself glory to reconcile humanity back to him.
THE story of God is how he uses both people of GREAT and unique SIGNIFICANCE and people who seem ordinary or unimportant to right wrongs and bring heaven to earth.
Influence and affluence are not in opposition to the value of people because God through the Bible is clear that EVERYONE has a unique way they have been graced to impact the world and reflect God’s greatness.
You see, Joseph had money, but money didn’t have him.
Joseph had meaningful relationships, but only one relationship was most important.
There has also been much talk of the “rich young ruler” who came to Jesus sad and left wanting. Jesus told him to sell his possessions to gain eternal life, and he did not. Look right there, PROOF THAT MONEY IS BAD!
The part that everyone is leaving out is that the rich young ruler was also a very religious man.
Matthew 19:17-20 | “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
The point of this story is not about money being bad. Just like the point of the story isn’t that keeping the commandments is bad.
The point is that ANYTHING. ANY. THING. That we are going to OTHER THAN JESUS will leave us empty and wanting.
Why did Jesus ask him to sell his possessions? So that He could see if the rich young ruler was ready to follow him. If the rich young ruler couldn’t listen to Jesus, how could he follow Him and gain the eternal life that comes from knowing Jesus?
It’s not unlike Jesus, to ask people to leave EVERYTHING, including their jobs and possessions to follow Him. Peter did it.
I feel like Jesus would have titled this story the “rich” young ruler. As with anyone without Jesus, he was truly poor.
Jesus is not after your money.
He is after your heart.
And if He has to go after your sneakers to get it… He will.
We must be careful to pay such close attention to what we think other people should get rid of in their lives.
We might miss some things in our own lives and find ourselves far from Jesus. We might look at our “Christian” lives and feel like we’re LACKING even though we are keeping “all the commandments.”
As for me, I have enough trouble leading myself and the local communities/relationships, and I’m not sure where people find time to pick people they don’t know apart on the internet.
I’d rather be like Joseph of Arimathea who uses what he had to do what he could and trusted that God was going to do with it what He willed.
Don’t run away from influence. Don’t run away from affluence.
Just run towards Jesus. Run towards your unique gift to build His kingdom.
City First Church