Message Over Mammon

Luke 10:1–9; 2 Corinthians 12:1–14

There are many people who attract attention naturally. Some do it with mere charisma. Some do it with . Others do it with the words (positive and negative).

There are others that do it out of . Whether it is to gain the attention of people or to feel power, or (all still people-based, really), gaining attraction to puff oneself up isn’t Christ-like.

When Jesus sent out the 72 disciples he gave an interesting direction: don’t change houses. In other words, if you were invited into a house in a town, stay at that house until you leave the town. As they were representatives of the famous prophet, they would likely be treated well. It might even mean that people would compete for their .

The concern with this is that the message would lose weight as the disciples would go from house to house. What gravitas would the “ of Heaven” have if its disciples (emissaries, ambassadors) traipsed from one place to another following the food and the sandal-licking (they didn’t have boots, then). If people competed over the fame and flattery of having one of the disciples, would they really care about the message?

The next concern would be the effect upon the disciples. Being “wined and dined” could have a potentially huge negative effect on their spiritual growth and their . It could even lead to some of the same bullying behavior of the Jewish religious leaders. That would have been very bad.

We see how it did evolve through ‘s letter to the Corinthians. The “super” apostles were, it seems, spiritual abusers. They guilt-tripped people to more money. Based on Paul’s language, the super-apostles used language that implied that the Corinthians were being spiritually blessed by giving them (the super-apostles) so much money.

When Paul apologizes that he didn’t ask for money or to be taken care of, there is a realization that the Corinthians had been hoodwinked. They had bought wholeheartedly into the swindle of the super-apostles. In so doing, they lost the vision of the Gospel.

By succumbing to the words of these super-apostles, they reattached the chains of bondage. Paul was heartbroken. The of the message of in Christ had been lost.

Image courtesy of Katka