by Bob Wickizer

A King, Cash or Christ?
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:35-43 (or Luke 19:29-38)
25 November 2001

I once knew a Jesuit priest who kept an unusual key ring in his pocket. Along with the usual set of keys he included a metal medallion with an inscription reading "Cash is King."

Now I hope you are able to laugh at this a bit as I do. But we laugh at some kinds of humor precisely because such humor conveys an element of truth that might be embarrassing to confess. In these days of political uncertainty, economic downturn, layoffs, declining church income and end of year shopping craziness I have to stop and ask myself just who is king these days, Cash or Christ?

We could easily jump off at this point into a scathing, biblical critique of all that is wrong with our consumerist culture. We could work ourselves into a frenzy of guilt and mixed feelings about shopping for Christmas and the other cash priorities in our lives versus the church. But we won't do this because the people of Christ, the people of the Church have always lived IN and not outside of the culture and society around us.

A young first century rabbi who spent considerable time investigating and persecuting this renegade group of early Christians became the single most important missionary and evangelist for Christ the world has ever seen. Steeped in Judaism, skilled in Greek rhetoric and culture and an active businessperson in the first century world of commerce, Saul of Tarsus became Paul. While Paul often excoriated the pagan culture surrounding him he remained active and immersed in that culture often converting familiar cultural symbols (such as the temple for the unknown god in Athens) into understandable Christian symbols.

To put Saul's extraordinary conversion into Paul, the apostle and evangelist for Christ in modern perspective, consider the possibility of Osama bin Laden experiencing Christ on the road to Kabul and converti ...

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