Mammon and Conversion


I was recently reading through Luke and was struck by the emphasis on money and the poor, especially how generosity is bound up with conversion. I could point to many examples, but will limit myself to three from Luke and one from 2 Corinthians.

In the third chapter, John the Baptist is preparing the way as the prophet Isaiah predicted he would. John is calling the crowd to repentance, and they ask, "What should we do then?" (3.10) John answers, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same" (3.11). Then some tax collectors came and asked the same question. John says, "Don't collect any more than you are required to" (3.13). Then when some soldiers asked him the same, he replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely - be content with your pay" (3.14).

Do you remember the story where the Pharisee was surprised that Jesus didn't wash before he ate (11.37-41)? Jesus told him that they cleaned the outside of the cup but were full of greed and wickedness on the inside. He goes on to say, "But now as for what is inside you - be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you" (11.41).

Then we have the wee little man. Zacchaeus told Jesus that then and there he'd give half of his stuff to the poor and pay back anyone he'd cheated four-fold (19.8). Jesus responds by saying, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham (19.9).

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 8-9, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give generously to the poor saints. In 9.13, he writes, "Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, people will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."
Have you converted?