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Luke Study #152 – Worthless

The Gospel Of Luke

Luke 16:14-18 (CEV)

14 The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15 But Jesus told them:

You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.

16 Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. But since God’s kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17 Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does.

18 It is a terrible sin for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman.

Worthless

So clearly the Pharisees didn’t read Tom Wright’s interpretation of the previous story. Clearly they are left thinking that it was about money.

But Jesus seems fixed on a point.

Focused on an end goal.

Determined to make the best attempt possible at getting through to these folks.

His point?

Worth looks different in the Kingdom than in the market square.

In the market square, your wealth buys you things. It buys you food and clothes, buys you art, technology, and entertainment – back in the day it even bought you servants and slaves, and maybe it’s still part of buying relationships today.

So in the market square your wealth and the way you present yourself elevates you and makes you more important.

It’s like the difference between when Trevor and I went into a car salesroom the first time as young 20-somethings with a small baby – it took as half an hour just to flag down the attention of a salesman, and there was no chance whatsoever that he was going to let us take a car for a test drive by ourselves! These days we’ve cleaned up a bit, and we’re older, and I’m in a wheelchair, and they practically scurry to look after us, apologize for having to ask to see our driver’s licenses and then show us as many options as we’d care to look at.

But Jesus isn’t very interested in the economics of the market square. It really doesn’t seem to matter that much to him, unless it’s getting in our way of being part of the kingdom.

Because he does seem quite focused on the economics of the Kingdom.

And in the Kingdom the things that matter are a little (LOT) bit different!

It’s not about the rules or the laws. Apparently they’re not going anywhere, but these laws are not the thing that’s going to excite and entice people into the Kingdom.

People don’t go around saying, “those people never swear, I really want to be like them, I wonder where I could sign up?”

They don’t go around saying, “those people carry the most doctrinally clear sandwich boards – I never realized what I was missing until now.”

They don’t go around saying, “those people have done the best job of categorizing people as ‘in’ and ‘out’ and I definitely wouldn’t want to go against their list, so I’ll do whatever it takes to get on their ‘in’ list.”

But they seem to notice when people go out of their way to break down the walls that divide us from each other.

They seem to notice when people invite and welcome and show up for each other and are patient with one another and forgive one another (because they remember that God had to forgive them, too).

They do seem to notice when people treat others they way they would like to be treated.

So how are you deciding what matters?

What metric are you using to determine is something is worth it or not?Journal Questions:

  1. How do you decide what matters?
  2. How do you decide if something is worth the effort, the time, the energy, the sacrifice?
  3. Are there any areas where you feel stuck between a rule that tells you that you can’t do something and an invitation to love someone?
  4. We can’t live stuck between two conflicting ideas. The conflict tears us apart and renders us incapable of doing either well. So which one are you going to follow?

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