Here’s a thought-provoking quote from a great article about the interplay between Scripture and culture:
“We are not blank slates. We bring our own theological interpretive grids to the Bible. For example, in John 4, when Jesus tells the Samaritan woman she had five husbands and the man she is with isn’t even her husband, what do we think of the woman? We automatically think she’s an adulteress. She’s a sinner.
But in other cultures, they might interpret the story to mean that she has been abandoned unfairly by five men, one after the other. And she now lives with another man for protection. But this man won’t even honor her by marrying her. She’s been sinned against.
There’s nothing in the text to tell us whether she’s a sinner or sinned against. We come to our interpretations based on the theological systems that we have brought to the text.”
Did Jesus take up an offering from the crowd to buy the finest Roman chariot and the fastest Arabian horses? Did he require a first-class seat or a luxury vehicle in order to accept a ministry invitation? No, he rode a donkey, the transportation of the common person, and a borrowed one at that.
I don’t begrudge anyone whatever tools, including transportation, that they need in order to accomplish what God has called them to do, but it is worth remembering that without question, given the impact of his miracle-working power upon the multitudes who wanted to forcibly make Him king, Jesus could have raised all the millions He wanted for anything He wanted and yet He chose not to do that. What a contrast that is with some preachers I have encountered, including one guest speaker years ago whose office sent us a list in advance of all his “requirements,” down to the specific brand of bottled water he needed in the green room – the most expensive brand available, by the way!
We need to pray for our brothers and sisters who experience unusual ministry prominence, that like Jesus in the desert they will overcome the temptation to unduly profit from their prominence and that God will bless them with the humility they need to “succeed successfully,” while keeping watch over our own lives and spheres of influence so that we, too, will walk in humility at whatever economic level God positions us.
“I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” John 13:16-17 NLT
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 NLT