“Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.”” (Luke 3:12–13, HCSB)
Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized. Greed is such an insidious monster. Once it gets a foothold on our heart, it seems to taint our every thought. “Just a little bit more!” it tells us. “It will be ok. You just need a little bit more,” greed whispers in our ear. And soon, we believe that we need that thing and into our cart it goes – whether at the Dollar Store, on Amazon, or at the car dealership. All along the way, we find ourselves at the whim of this green-eyed monster that always craves just a little bit more.
Thus, when those who could – and did – extort extra money from people under the color of authority came to surrender to the King of kings, they wondered how the new administration would govern their occupations. Business would never be the same again in Jesus’ reply.
Consider for a moment what Jesus actually means when He tells these IRS agents for the Roman Government to stop being greedy. In one simple sentence, Jesus forbids being human in our sinful nature. His words are the equivalent to saying, “Stop taking what doesn’t belong to you.” And in that, we all have a lesson to learn.
Whether it’s a tool along the roadside, some money in the street, or someone else’s spouse, if it isn’t ours then we have no business taking it. Being content with the wages we make and not pilfering from the supply closet is the intent of Jesus all-encompassing decree. “Leave it alone! It’s not yours!” could be the battle cry of the businesswoman or man who takes His words to heart.
Servant leaders understand that Jesus is watching, auditing our actions and attitudes, our methods and our motives. As a result, we comprehend the reality that Jesus calls us to a higher standard. As the writer of Hebrews instructs us … “Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, HCSB)
In the midst of the busy-ness of each day, we need to remember that there is a reward and that God is always with us. Whatever we need, He will provide – at the right time and in abundance!
Willing Worker Wednesdays are dedicated to explaining the core realities of servant leadership – the Biblical principles and methods used by God’s faithful people throughout time. They further reflect the lifestyle of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords as He walked on this earth announcing the Kingdom of God had arrived. These brief lessons are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his extensive ministry within the local church, in higher education, in church consulting and as a Biblical author and leader. He welcomes your comments below.