“You cannot serve God and wealth.”
The Pharisees, who were money-lovers, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before other people, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued by people is deeply offensive to God…. God knows your hearts. What is highly valued by people is deeply offensive to God.” (Luke 16:13b-15 CEB)
In Jesus’s time there were quite a number of people who were exceedingly bad at math. Following are two examples of some of their most elementary calculations:
tragedy + any person = that person must have sinned and clearly God was displeased with them (cf. Luke 13:3-5; etc.)
prosperity + a Jew = that person must be obviously righteous and God is pleased with them to bless them so (Luke 16:10-15; etc.)
But then Jesus showed up, grading papers and teaching what appeared to them to be “new math.” His calculations look like this:
tragedy + any person = doesn’t make anyone more or less of a sinner nor does it indicate God’s approval or displeasure, it just is
prosperity + a Jew = is no indicator whatsoever of a person’s standing with God, but is a context of serious responsibility lined with much greater temptation
A multitude today still have not learned the “new” math. They continue to add up in their head that tragedy is equal to God’s judgment and financial prosperity is something of an indicator of salvation.
And we wonder why greed and despair are so common? Our “figuring of God” is fouled up.
God’s way of adding up things is not our natural way of calculating things and interpreting reality. But then again, he’s the only one with the right answers.
Heavenly Father, deliver us from evil and bring us to the place of right values. May your praise be the sum total of our life. Nothing more nor less. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.