Connections 2.13.2022: Following the Money

Luke 6:17-26

In our world, money is power. Modern culture is consumerist and competitive, and in polite society we’re not supposed to talk numbers, even while we hustle to climb every available ladder. It is a faux pas to talk about salaries and spending, but we still want to hold our own in “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Though we might not like to admit it, in our churches too, money is power. Money is power to keep the lights on, to run great programs, to serve big needs. Money is power to pay good staff, to maintain facilities, to plan exciting new projects that will attract new people. But our modern church culture can also be consumerist and competitive, as we want to hold our own in “keeping up” with the churches in our neighborhood.

Jesus was with the newly chosen twelve disciples on a “level place” where a vast crowd gathered. People were coming to him afflicted by disease and “troubled with unclean spirits,” reaching to touch him for even a fingertip’s worth of his healing. Luke reports that “power came out from him and healed all of them” (v. 19).

At his first big speaking gig with his twelve closest followers, what prompted Jesus to shift gears from doing the powerful work of healing to addressing the powerful force of money? What did he see in the crowd that day that prompted this dramatic lesson on the upside-down economy of God, where those who are now poor will receive kingdoms, and those who are now full will experience hunger?

Money has always been power. Even for Jesus’ hearers, thousands of years ago in an economy that functioned very differently from our own, money was the power to have a full belly, to enjoy life, to be included in society.

What did Jesus see when he looked out at the multitude? All were reaching out for healing, but apparently some in the crowd were also poor, hungry, grieving, and excluded. That day they needed to hear a blessing: that the power of money is not the power of God’s kingdom.

And some in the crowd were rich, stuffed full, laughing, and beloved. They needed to hear a warning: the power of money is not the power of God’s kingdom.

Two sides of the same coin. What do we hear, a blessing or a curse? Which side are we on?


  • How do you talk about money with other Christians? Do you discuss personal financial blessings or struggles? Do you discuss your church’s economic gifts and concerns? Do you feel you can be open about the complex issue of money and its role in (or even its power over) your life and your church’s functioning?
  • What makes money such a delicate subject matter?
  • When we talk about money in church and when we study scriptures about money, we may tend to be very generic and abstract. We may also tend to focus on stewardship and how we should use money wisely both as individuals and congregations. How does Jesus speak of money? How can we better follow Jesus’ model, addressing financial disparity clearly and specifically as a kingdom concern? How would more openness about money help us to be more faithful to the day of rejoicing that Jesus promises?

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is the lead editor of Connections. She is a graduate of Samford University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and as a military spouse has had nine (at last count) different hometowns in the past 20 years. She and her husband Scott and sons Sam and Levi live in the Washington D.C. area. In recent years, Nikki has written Smyth & Helwys curricula as well as devotionals for and Baptist Women in Ministry. She weaves clergy stoles, knits almost anything, and dreams of making her dreadful novel drafts into readable books. She blogs about faith and making things at


For further resources, subscribe to the Connections Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

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