Conclusion – The Bible On Money, Sex, And Power
I’ve spent the last several blog entries talking about money, sex, and power. Three areas of our lives that when we mishandle or get wrong, tend to leave devastating effects on not just our lives, but those around us. In fact, many of us can trace some of the deepest hurts in our past to someone else abusing money, sex, or power.
I’ve written about ways we get money wrong here and here. I’ve talked about the devastating effect of letting our value or the value of others be determined by any of these things. Last week, I talked about asking the right questions when it comes to sex and power.
Conclusion – The Bible On Money, Sex, And Power
This week, I want to address the question of what if anything, the Bible has to say about how to handle money sex and power in a way that leads to the best possible outcome.
The Most Important Rule in the Bible
At one point, Jesus was asked what single commandment in the law was. In other words, out of all the ‘rules I have to follow’, which one do I need to follow most? Jesus’ response was simple:
“You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” [Matthew 22:37-40]
Love God. Love people. Every other law comes down to these two things. If we truly understand what God has done for us through Christ, then love is the next natural response. And if we really love God, we’re going to see and love people the way that he does.
So how do I do that in the areas of money, sex, and power?
In Matthew 22:21 Jesus gets asked about paying taxes. His response is give God what is God’s and Caesar what is Caesar’s. When it comes to our finances, having our priorities right and being responsible with what we have are what will keep us away from trouble and out of debt. We should neither neglect our ‘earthly debts’ just so that wee can put more in the offering plate, nor neglect our obligation to give back to God some of what he’s given us.
In Acts chapter 2, we see a picture of the church where all the believers shared what they had and distributed goods among themselves as any had need. In fact, all throughout the New Testament, we see a recurrence of two themes when it comes to money:
Be responsible and generous
The Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Corinth at one point about their understanding of sex both in terms of how they might love God and others in this area. He tells us that the body is a temple. Specifically referring to sexual immorality, he reminds us that we ought to honor God through how we treat our bodies sexually. In Genesis chapter 2, God creates man and woman (and sex) and says that the two will become “one flesh”. The word used there for one is a word God uses to describe himself as well. It’s the word Echad.
The unity between a husband and wife is to so fuse them together that they become one at every level. This explains the principle Paul lays out for loving one another sexually later in 1 Corinthians chapter 7. He tells husbands and wives to give to one another their conjugal rights because their bodies belong to each other.
What if we only did with and to our own body what our spouse would and only did with and to our spouse what we would with our own flesh?
What would that level of selflessness look like in our sex lives? Wouldn’t you want that kind of spouse? Wouldn’t your spouse appreciate it from you?
We need no greater example of how to use power rightly than Jesus himself. The man who, although he was fully God, was obedient to his parents as a child, cared for the poor, sick, and downtrodden and served as a leader to the extent that he washed his disciples’ feet (a disgusting task that would have been far beneath him by normal standards). Even the feet of the man he knew would betray him to his death. He was both tough and tender. For Jesus, there was no such thing as “servant leadership”. Leadership was serving. Plain and simple.
Although speaking about masculinity, what pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle had to say is especially pertinent:
“The key to understanding masculinity is Jesus Christ. Jesus was tough with religious blockheads, false teachers, the proud, and bullies. Jesus was tender with women, children, and those who were suffering or humble. Additionally, Jesus took responsibility for Himself. He worked a job for the first thirty years of His life, swinging a hammer as a carpenter. He also took responsibility for us on the cross, where He substituted Himself and died in our place for our sins. My sins are my fault, not Jesus’ fault, but Jesus has made them His responsibility. This is the essence of the gospel, the “good news”. If you understand this, it will change how you view masculinity.”
― Mark Driscoll, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Man or woman, young or old, any of us can learn from this illustration of Jesus’ balance of tough and tender and his attitude toward responsibility. The way we view any power we find or imagine ourselves in possession of, must be though the lens of how we can serve with it. We must use it to provide for and protect those in our care.
What to look out for
I’ve written about this before and I won’t rehash all of it but in Proverbs chapter 4, we’re given some of the best advice on how to not tank your life out there. Solomon tells us that above all else, we’re to keep an eye on what’s going on in our hearts. A favorite pastor of mine once used the analogy of aging like wine or milk.
As you get older, are you becoming sweeter or more bitter? Jesus said that where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. So looking at where the money in your life is going, where’s your heart at? Look at those you have authority and influence over. Are they flourishing or perishing under you?
Your use of money sex and power are a good indicator of your heart’s direction.
Love God. Love people.