Money & Power by Jacques Ellul

By Jacques Ellul

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Sample text

Jesus was acting intentionally. He sat in front of the treasury-the offering box-in order to see. He watched people giving. And it was not the amount they gave that interested him but the way they gave. This shows that Jesus paid close attention to the money question. He spoke of it often, and here we see that in money matters, no behavior escapes Jesus' observation. We must not deceive ourselves: our honesty and generosity are not being questioned, but how we give. Even if Jesus does not make a negative judgment here, we know by the positive judgment he expresses that he is judging.

This is indeed different from our usual way of acting. This behavior is dictated by grace. Likewise the love created by money and by selling is the exact opposite of the love created by grace and by giving. Their direction is different, as Anders Nygren points out in Agape and Eros. God agrees to go beyond the world of giving to deal with Satan, and there again we must measure the depth of God's love. He gives up his own will to accept the enemy's law, just as in Christ he accepts the needs and limitations of flesh and blood.

In order to keep us from thinking we can remain independent of this power, the Bible gives three examples of this possession. First, the first priest, Aaron, the first to offer sacrifices (Lev 9), the 82 MONEY& POWER father of priests (Lev 21), was also the person who built the golden calf' for his people. Substituting the worship of the golden idol for the worship of God, he showed his change of guiding spirit. Second, the greatest king, Solomon, was attracted to false gods by his foreign wives and was likewise seduced by money.

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