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Why Money Is the Smoking Gun

“Now, the Pharisees who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him” (Luke 16:14).

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money … ” (II Timothy 3:1-2).

We are conditioned from infancy to love money.

In childhood: Family and friends come to the house and they give the kids money. You go into the hospital for a tonsillectomy and people give you money. You go to church and they ask for money.

Your dad takes a job in a distant state and the family relocates there, all for money. A few years later, the business shuts down and dad is jobless and the family moves back South and you say goodbye to your friends, because there is no money.

And later: You go to college and they ask for money. You take a part-time job to make spending money. You are walking along the sidewalk and you find money. You take a job working in a church and, to your surprise, they pay you. You go to a larger church and they pay you more, which is a good thing since you now have to buy a house and send kids to school.

And so goes life.

When you are as rich as Donald Trump, the actual money no longer matters. One can only eat so much food, wear so many clothes, drive so many automobiles and live in so many houses. “Money is how you keep score,” Mr. Trump says.

It turns out, money is the smoking gun.

The Pharisees who were the Tea Party of their day—and by that we mean the diehard conservatives, the only true traditionalists, they felt—could be almost excused for their opposition to Jesus on the grounds that He was reinterpreting all the scriptures as they understood them. Except that their motives were not quite that pure. They lived for money, in the same way untold generations before and after have done.

A love for money—if you happen to be so devoted—means you measure everything in life by that yardstick: “How much is it worth? How much will it bring to us? How much does he earn? How much is he worth?”

For such people, money colors everything they do in life.

Pastors know the pain of going up against members of finance committees who have more familiarity with dollars and cents than with faith. “We don’t have the money for that” or “What will this cost us?” are their mantras.

For the Pharisees, a love for money explains why they were “scoffing at Him” (Luke 16:14). This hostility was provoked by the Lord’s teachings on the Prodigal Son, followed by His instructions to the disciples regarding money. “There was a certain rich man who had a steward … ” (16:1).

The Lord was teaching the disciples (16:1), but was being overheard by the Pharisees (16:14).

We must never forget that the world is always listening in, trying to pick up on the inside dope of the gospel, looking for excuses to reject Jesus’ message.