When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Luke 18:22
Let me assure you that in the test which follows, I shall not know how many answers you get wrong. The test is made up of five questions. All you need do is check the "Yes" box, if you think the passage is in the Bible, and the "No" box, if it is not. The answer key can be found after the prayer.
Is This Passage In The Bible?
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Yes __ No __
Honesty is the best policy. Yes __ No __
Confession is good for the soul. Yes __ No __
We are prone to sin as sparks fly heavenward. Yes __ No __
Money is the root of all evil. Yes __ No __
The truth is many of us don't know as much about the Bible as we think we do. That is especially the case when it comes to what God and our Savior had to say about money and stuff. This is why this devotion speaks about money and stuff.
Now, if you're ready to stop reading, please don't. You may be surprised by what the Savior had to say.
First, let me tell you some of the things Jesus didn't say. He didn't say many of the things you can hear coming out of the mouths of TV evangelists. Jesus never had His disciples selling holy handkerchiefs, inspirational incense, or anointing olive oil soap and water taken from the Jordan River.
Nor did Jesus ever tell anybody that if they wanted to have God give them money and stuff they first had to bribe the Lord and get His attention by making a "seed offering." That also means Jesus didn't imply the larger the seed offering the more money and stuff God would be compelled to give.
God has no need of our money and stuff. In the book of Psalms, God says, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine ... and the creatures of the field are Mine ... the world is Mine, and all that is in it" (see Psalm 50).
So, what does Jesus say about money?
The Savior told His followers that money isn't a bad thing: "Just don't let your love for the stuff get in the way of your love for Me and the salvation I bring." In other places, Jesus said not to let family get in the way, or your plans. In that spirit, He told the God-loving rich, young ruler to "sell all that you have, distribute it to the poor ... and come, follow Me" (see Matthew 19:21).
It was a request the man could not do because -- although he loved God -- he loved his wealth and lifestyle even more. His is a mistake we dare not repeat as we follow the Redeemer who gave His life for us. We need to keep first things first, and Jesus should always be first. And that, my friends, is an idea which is in the Bible.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant my heart may be properly aligned so nothing gets in the way of my love and loyalty to the Savior. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
TEST KEY: All the boxes should be checked "NO," since none of these passages is found in the Bible.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries