We have been given the opportunity to share in Jesus’s glory, not so much for ourselves, but to honor Him.
Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
Old Covenant thinking: If I am rich, then I am blessed by God.
New Covenant thinking: If I am rich, then I have been given a big responsibility.
Under the Old Covenant, a person worked to be blessed (or to miss judgement). If a person had wealth, then he considered himself blessed by God. As long as he performed all the prescribed rituals and abided by the laws of Moses, then he was “good.” Jesus thought otherwise, and He told us as much. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus included two people who would have thought that they were doing the right thing in order to stay “clean” before God: a priest and a Levite–in other words, a pastor and a music director. In order to carry out their duties, they couldn’t touch the wounded man because it would make them “unclean” and thus unable to take part in the temple rituals.
Jesus took the story in a whole different direction than just being neighborly. He wanted the expert in the law to understand that the Old Covenant was not what He was about. He was introducing something NEW, something that revealed God’s heart, something that was for ALL people. In the story, Jesus took a Samaritan (a *half-breed, a people hated by good Jews) and made him the hero in the story. He used his financial powers for good according to mercy and grace. Jesus even made the expert admit it:
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Jesus applied His New Covenant thinking to a very likely situation. The expert in the law was forced to make the application himself. I wonder if he got the message…
We, too, must make this New Covenant shift in our own lives. We have been given wealth: the average American low-middle to middle class family has more wealth, more material goods, and better health than over **90% of the world’s population. Yet, there are people all around us in need. Rather than think Old-Covenant (that we are blessed by God and as long as we go to church and avoid sin, we can do what we want with our wealth, time, and resources), we need to embrace Christ’s New Covenant way of thinking and ask the LORD how HE wants us to use our wealth, health, time and resources. Jesus said,
“Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8b
Let’s ask Him how He wants us to serve Him today with all we have. It’s all His, anyway–us included!
*Half-breed: In 722 B.C. Assyria captured Israel (the northern 10 tribes) and hauled them off to Assyria as slaves, leaving only a small percentage of the poorest farmers behind to keep the land from becoming barren. Many of that remnant intermarried with the surrounding people and accepted their gods as their own. The offspring of those marriages were considered half-breeds and were treated with contempt by “true” Jews. The interesting thing about this attitude is that Paul was a half-breed in that his mother was Jewish and his father was Roman.
**The world’s richest 1 percent, those with more than $1 million, own 45 percent of the world’s wealth. Adults with less than $10,000 in wealth make up 64 percent of the world’s population but hold less than 2 percent of global wealth. The world’s wealthiest individuals, those owning over $100,000 in assets, total less than 10 percent of the global population but own 84 percent of global wealth. Credit Suisse [Global Wealth Databook 2018] defines “wealth” as the value of a household’s financial assets plus real assets (principally housing), minus their debts. See World Wealth Inequality