November 26, 2010

At What Price?

John 12:1-8

[Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief …
John 12:6


We know very little of Judas’s life beyond the story of his betrayal of Jesus. But John states clearly that Judas was a thief. Not only was he a thief, but he stole from his friends. Judas was apparently in the discipleship business for profit.

When we lived in Latin America, someone stole from us nearly every month: jewelry, bikes, cameras, briefcases, even flowers from our garden. It got tiring. I wanted to punish the thieves. One young woman who worked with us in ministry also stole from us. I admit there was a point when I might have enjoyed seeing her punished—I was so angry.

Why is stealing from someone so hateful? Because it shows how little you care about the person you steal from. The young woman who stole from us valued our relationship at a few hundred dollars, the amount she stole. Judas valued his relationship to Jesus at thirty pieces of silver, the amount for which he sold him. Isn’t that tragic? The value he placed on his Master, Savior, and Friend was limited to a bag of metal coins.

Can our love for our Master, Savior, and Friend be measured in material goods or money? I hope not.

What is the value we place on our relationship with Christ and our relationship with others? When that value is high, we’ll respect the right of our neighbor to care for the things that God has entrusted to him.

Master, Savior, and Friend, we know you value us beyond measure. May we return your love in service to you. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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