Friday, August 24, 2012

Using Christ or Being Used by Him

     Having served in the business world for a number of years, I have had the opportunity to meet many types of people.  It is most certainly a joy to work with and get to know Christians in the work place.  However, there is one trend that troubles me both with the business world as well as the political arena. Some people use the Christian faith to sell their products, win elected office or curry favor with the powers that be.   Rather than giving God the glory, they use Him as a tool to sell, recruit, or achieve a higher level of earning potential.  To be certain, this is not true of all who are faithful to the Lord, and it should not be true of us.
A busy business area in Lucerne, Switzerland
     Jesus encountered those who were taking advantage of others and making His Father's House a den of robbers.  They were business people as well, but they had taken things too far.  All three of the Synoptic Gospel include the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple.  Following the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus enters the Temple.  In Mark 11:15-17, the author writes:  "And they came to Jerusalem.  And He entered the Temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the Temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And He would not allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple.  And He was teaching them and saying to them, 'Is it not written, 'My father's house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'?  But you have made it a den of robbers.'"  Little wonder the priests and scribes were set against Him for He boldly reminded all present that God's House was meant for worship not to be used as a marketplace.
     Those coming to the Court of the Gentiles where these sellers had set up their tables often needed to exchange their money so they could pay their tithe.  However some of the moneychangers were cheating the people.  Likewise, pigeons were used for sacrifice, but these merchants had set up shop inside a court meant for prayer.  Seeing how these business people were taking advantage of God's name to sell their wares, Jesus became angry and drove them out.
Courtyard restaurants and businesses in Munich, Germany
     Using faith in Jesus Christ as a means to sell a product or promote yourself to public office is not unlike what happened in the scripture passage above.  There is a difference between holding sincere convictions and values that come from the Bible and simply mouthing those principles for gain.  We need Christians in every walk of life to reflect God's glory.  Men and women of character who live their faith in Jesus Christ by honest dealings and truthful statements bring a light to an otherwise dreary, dark world.  Our Lord told us to let our light so shine that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.  This should be the goal of every Christian in politics as well as business.
     There is no shame in making a profit in business if it is done with integrity because God has called man to labor on this earth.  However, to name the name of Christ in one breath and steal, back stab, lie or cheat in another brings dishonor to our Lord.  It is time for all who serve in the work force to examine themselves before the Lord.  May we never be found to be a money changer using the name of the Lord and taking it in vain to promote ourselves or our work.  Instead, I pray that God will make us humble, honest, and truthful in all our dealings that we may bring true glory to His name.  Selah!

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