28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone
Those that were selling the indulgences wanted the people to believe that their money spent on indulgences was the conduit for the forgiveness of God and entrance into Heaven. Luther points out that indulgences are really a conduit for greed and avarice. He points out that even when the church intercedes with God for the individual sinner the resulting forgiveness still comes from the hands of God. The gates of heaven cannot be opened by money!
This once again reminds us that our gifts of money are not meant to “buy” anything, rather a witness to our love for God. There was a pastor who was speaking about the great work of missionaries in Africa to spread the Gospel and he was inviting his congregation to be a part of this great work by contributing to the mission fund. He even stated that someone had made a gift of Bibles and so anyone who gave more than $100.00 could receive one of these beautiful white family bibles. As the people were writing out pledges one of the older ladies of the church raised her hand and asked the pastor, “how much for one of those white bibles?” This leads us to wonder if she was giving to the Lord, or simply buying a new bible?
Today’s church people often come to feel that because they are “contributing members” of the church they should be getting something that those who don’t contribute will not receive. As we have said before this is thinking as the world thinks and not the way that God thinks. God loves us and gives us earthly blessings, heavenly forgiveness and eternal salvation simply out of love for us. Our gifts and even our Christian living are a response to what God has already given us, not the purchase price to receive these things.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times that I have gotten things turned upside down and thought that I had purchased or earned Your love! I know that Your love for me is Your gift not the result of my gifts. Help me to remember that Jesus died freely and I receive freely. In His name. Amen.