I wonder what Jesus would say if communion at church was sponsored by Welches or if Baptism Sunday was brought to you by Zephyrhills? What if offering envelopes had the Bank America logo and a coupon for a three months FREE checking on them or the annual church picnic was sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken? What if your Scripture verses were brought to you by Apple or the church bulletin (“The Weekly”) had a coupon section? Hmmmmmmmmm………
Mark 11:15-17 (TNIV)
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Yesterday we saw that the fig tree was an acted-out parable meant to show the disciples that the temple, just like the fig tree, showed the promise of fruit….yet it produced none. The temple was full of religion without substance. As followers of Jesus, if we claim to have faith without putting that faith to work in our life…..then we are like that barren fig tree.
Often time’s people read these verses about Jesus driving out the money changers and somehow interpret them as saying that nothing should be sold in church, no bake sales, no cost to anything. I think that this is far from His intentional meaning. I believe that what Jesus stood against wasn’t money, but I believe that He was angry about the shallow lack of faith and the changing of the purpose of the temple (the church). It was being turned into a money making machine that benefited the vendors and the priestly class……yet it was all on the backs of the poor. As followers of Jesus, indeed, as followers of God the Father, our faith should never be about financial gain, social gain nor political gain. The church is a place of healing, worship, and prayer (just like the temple should have been).
Something we say often at LifePoint Christian Church before we take up an offering is that we don’t want new people to feel obligated to give. Giving is an act of worship and trust for those who call LifePoint their home. God provides every day.