1 Corinthians 1:18-25
There is a place for marketing, for buying and selling, making a reasonable profit, but not when it gets in the road of a vital, interactive relationship with God. This message seems to me to come through the story in John 2 of Jesus cleansing the temple. Commercial activity had left no room for worship to take place in the Gentile section of the temple. Whereas the temple used to be seen as the specific place where people met with God and God met with his people, Jesus, for us, takes the place of the temple. He is the one through whom we come to God and God comes to us. But don’t try to commercialize that relationship either by trying to buy God’s favour or by squeezing the vitality out of our relationship with God by a preoccupation with finances and organization. You see the way things operate in God’s realm are different from the way they operate in everyday commercial life. As far as that goes they are different from the way of life that predominates in academic, political, legal, sporting or any other part of life. There you find that rewards go to the smartest, the strongest, most educated, most heavily promoted and wealthiest people. But God gave us a message, not about a clever or powerful, all-conquering Messiah, but about a Messiah who was rejected, despised and crucified. “God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation (A proclamation of Christ crucified), to save those who believe,” wrote Paul. We have a counter-message to bring to our country today, and that puts us sometimes in a wilderness situation, tested and tempted as Jesus was. Are we going to consistently hold to the ways of Jesus who rejected the assumptions of his day or are we going to live by the spirit of the age?
- What has God got to do with commercial activity like buying and selling?
- What do you understand by Jesus taking the place of the temple?
- What is the main different between the way things run in God’s realm and the way they run in everyday life?
- Give examples of ways in which we are tempted to give in to the commonly accepted ways of the world.