Book Plunge: Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught Chapter 4

Will you give me everything you have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Well, David Madison doesn’t like that commandment.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, ponder the implications of this text for your own life. Is it even possible to give God all? And why does the powerful God who is described as self-sufficient require this level of commitment—a level that few, if any, believers even strive for, let alone attain.

Madison, David. Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught: And Other Reasons to Question His Words (p. 31). Insighting Growth Publications. Kindle Edition.

So in Christian thinking, God is the greatest good of all, the one who gives every good gift, redeems eventually from every suffering, forgives all your sin, loves you beyond measure, and everything else. Please, make sure you don’t overdo it in loving Him back.

God calls for the best and He deserves the best. What would it say if Jesus had said, “Oh, and make sure you give a little bit of honor to this God dude. Alright?”

He also talks about Ananias and Sapphira as an example and says most Christians either ignore it or explain it away.

I guess explain it away means “Give an explanation for it.”

Quite simple. They were never required to give everything. Peter says so in the text. They could have kept back some of it for themselves had they wanted. The problem was dishonesty and lying. They wanted to get all the glory for giving it all. For the fledgling church, it was needed to show that God is still serious about sin.

Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. (Mark 12:43-44, NRSV) This script fits Mark’s theme about extreme commitment earlier in the same chapter, and religious bureaucrats have commonly championed “giving until it hurts.” Yes, it’s a legitimate point that the rich don’t deserve high praise for giving away what they won’t miss, but commending the poor widow for her deed? That’s another matter. Under any normal, rational idea of what makes sense, it was not smart that the widow “put in all she had to live on.” It’s more logical to wonder why Jesus didn’t help her get the money back. Why would Jesus commend a mindset that prompts a widow to give away—to a mammoth religious bureaucracy—all the money she has to live on?

Madison, David. Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught: And Other Reasons to Question His Words (p. 33). Insighting Growth Publications. Kindle Edition.

Something to note here is all Jesus says is she gave more than the others did since she gave all she had to live on. He never directly praises her. Could He have been doing that in showing her faithfulness? Yes. Could it be though that the temple was charging higher taxes and she had to give in all that she had? Also, yes. Did Jesus do anything to help this widow out after? The text doesn’t say.

So what about this one?

So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (Luke 14:33 NRSV) Certainly this teaching has not stood the test of time. Even the most faithful believers pay little or no attention to it—sure evidence that Christians wish Jesus hadn’t said it.

Madison, David. Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught: And Other Reasons to Question His Words (pp. 34-35). Insighting Growth Publications. Kindle Edition.

Actually, the original text doesn’t say possessions. It says all that he has. Looking at the text, what Jesus is talking about is total devotion. Don’t start building a tower unless you are ready to give it your all to finish it. Don’t go to war unless your all is sufficient to handle it. In the same way, if you want to be a disciple, make sure you’re all in.

Which would be standard for a disciple if he wanted to be devoted to a master’s teaching.

So once again, Madison gets basic things wrong that simple research could have answered.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




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