is so powerful.
It is so applicable to our lives.
It is so…well…alive.
Hebrews 4:12 instructs that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
It penetrates soul and spirit.
It judges thoughts and attitudes.
Of course, it can only do that which we allow it to. The Word of God is not gonna jump up off the coffee table and into our souls. It’s not gonna speak to our hearts if we are not willing to listen. We need to give it permission, preference and position in our lives. Never has this been more of an issue than with our material possessions. It seems as if we (myself included) let the Lord have access to many aspects of our lives, but not our money. I’m reminded of the cartoon in which a man was being baptized in water. Every part of his body was brought below the waterline…except his wallet!
As I’ve been reading the Book of Mark in my daily devotions, I have noticed a number of times the Gospel directly or indirectly deals with the topic of our resources. I first recognized it in chapter 12 regarding the story of the Widow’s Offering, but then I went back and saw that every other chapter in Mark tackled the topic of our possessions (chapters 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16). Over the next few weeks I want to unpack these findings.
Let’s begin with chapter 2 with Levi the Tax Collector.
Jesus began teaching along the shore of the Sea of Galilee because it was a popular place for people to hang out. Therefore it made perfect sense that Jesus would utilize its backdrop as an outdoor pulpit. It also made sense that Levi would set up a tax collecting booth. Whether you’re a preacher or a tax collector, you want to be where the crowds are!
It was here that Jesus the Messiah connected with Levi the Money Man. Mark 2:14 records that Jesus said, “Follow Me.” In response, Levi got up and simply followed him. He left his booth, perhaps his revenue as well. This was more than a passing decision, it was a new way of living. The Money Man became the Messiah Follower. Wow. What obedience and surrender!
I contend that it’s easy to follow Jesus when little is demanded of us. It means next to nothing for us to “get up and follow him” when we are leaving next to nothing. But what about when it involves the possessions that we have worked so hard for?
I believe that when Jesus says “follow me” he is referring to the entirety of our lives, including our money. He wants us to loosen the grip that our hands have upon our money so that our hearts may do the same. The Bible says, “where your heart is there your treasure will be also.” In other words, what our HANDS hold tightly to so will our HEARTS.
In the Old Testament, the Tribe of Levites (named after Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob), were the main caretakers of the temple. They were the lead worshippers. Fast forward to Levi the Tax Collector in Mark 2 and ask yourself these questions:
Are you worshipping God with your money?
Are you taking care of the temple of the Lord?
Are you following Jesus in every areas of your life, including that of your possessions?
If not, then allow the Word of God to penetrate your soul and spirit and judge your thoughts and attitudes.