John 2:13-22 (ESV)
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
The world of commerce offers immense benefits in the realm of the material. Physical comfort is a reality, and there truly is such a thing as financial security. Both of these benefits can be had through diligence, the bearing of sacrifice, and the exercise of appropriate courage (risk-taking) within the domain of capitalist economic systems. With effort and discipline, we truly can be better off than we are.
But these benefits typically are presented to us without an appropriate warning: may be habit-forming. Indeed, one need not look too far to find those who extol these habits as ends in themselves; and this is deadly.
There is more to human life than the realm of the material. However, this realm would rather you not consider its finitude. It desires that you consider it as your all-in-all.
Jesus, though fully human, was never deceived by such dreck. Jesus was clear on just who is to be our all-in-all, even though he fully appreciated the benefits of the material—the wine he made in Cana was exceptional!
Hence his teaching in the Temple on that day: we easily misplace commerce in our lives, mixing it with our search for the Holy. Our material benefits, whatever they may be, cannot save us. Only God saves. If you do not understand that teaching now, you will when your final moments approach.
But let’s not wait until then. God’s creation is good; but it is not God. Everything you own will eventually find its way to a landfill. It too will return to dust, as will we.
But Christian, I have good news! Dust is not our destiny! Thanks to Jesus, and thanks only to Jesus, we have an appointment with eternity: “… I will raise it up.”
Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus!