Sunday, April 14, 2019

Would Jesus Ride in a Limo?

Once I heard a story about a pastor’s son who just got his driver’s permit and asked his father about using the family car. His father answered, “Son, I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible more, and get your hair cut. Then we will talk about it.” 

Two months later the boy approached his father again about driving the family car. His father said, “Son, I’m proud of you. You have brought your grades up and studied your Bible diligently, but why haven’t you gotten a haircut?”

The young man replied, “Samson had long hair. Even Jesus had long hair.” 

His father said, “Yes, son…and they walked everywhere they went.”

Technically, the pastor’s claim isn’t 100% accurate. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People have used that as an excuse to criticize modern-day preachers who drive expensive cars and fly in private jets. If Jesus riding a donkey is supposed to be a sign of humility, then how come these critics don’t practice what they preach? Why don’t they sell their cars and get a donkey to show us how humble they are?

One well-known minister (whose teachings I often agree with) posted on his Facebook page the above picture of a circuit preacher from 1867. He added the caption: “In the days before famous preachers were picked up at airports in stretch limos, this is how ministers got around.” Airplanes and limousines didn’t exist then.

As a missionary I have traveled from place to place through a variety of means: car, bus, boat, train, and plane. Many times I’ve had to walk or ride a bicycle to go shorter distances. One time the Lord led me to hitchhike from one city in Virginia to another. Four separate drivers offered rides without me sticking out my thumb. 

Then there was the time I took a bus to London, Ontario to house sit for a Canadian friend. Upon my arrival at the London bus station, I called my friend who offered and arranged to have a chauffeur pick me up in a luxurious vehicle as a way to bless and honor me. 

Most people don’t have a problem with celebrities and political leaders being treated as VIPs. So why not spiritual leaders? Jesus didn’t object to having expensive perfume poured over Him as an offering. I believe He would respond the same way if offered a limousine ride today. Still, there are individuals who claim, “That’s wasting resources that could be given to the poor.” These critics are echoing Judas Iscariot in John 12:5. Their concern for the poor is really a cover for covetousness.

God’s people shouldn’t get angry or jealous of brethren who have been faithful to Him and are enjoying some of the finer things in life. Revelation 1:6 says Jesus “...has made us kings and priests.” Christians sometimes refer to themselves as “King’s Kids.” Therefore, it’s not a sin for a preacher to be given royal treatment unless he demands it.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” - 1 Peter 5:6

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