WARNING: This Passage Might Cause Some Soul Searching

This passage might be a little troubling and even cause a little soul searching. It’s hard not to see this as an in-your-face challenge to us today. The lines that precede today’s verse lead up to it very powerfully as well. We are told to let love be the foundation of all of our relationships. If this was so, wouldn’t we be hospitable to all, for who knows, we might be “entertaining angels.” (verse 2) If we loved, as we are called to by Jesus, would it not seem reasonable that we would be actively caring for prisoners and the ill-treated as if they were one of us? If we loved in the manner we are called to in Christ, would it not be recognizable in how we honored our marriages and our marriage beds? To be a Christian means to be something different in the world.

The Letter to the Hebrews is challenging the “love of money” here. The ancient aphorism is “radix malorum est cupiditas,” that is, “The root of all evil is greed.” Money is so powerful. It is a necessity in order to obtain the basic needs of food, shelter, water, and clothing. But when we begin to feel that we “need,” or “deserve” gourmet food, the suburban McMansion, designer water, and the latest haute couture fashions, have we potentially gone over the threshold into “the love of money and its power?” When money becomes an obsession, when we allow it to separate us from others; when it causes us to think that we are, by nature, somehow better than others; when we begin to think that we need to build high walls and gated communities, guarded by 24 hour security to protect us from the imagined hoards, have we succumbed to the love of money as an idol? When this happens, might it be that we have forgotten that God, “will never leave nor forsake [us]?” Do we not have the confidence of our faith to be able to say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

Human beings have succumbed to the love of money from time immemorial. But aren’t we Christians called to trust in God alone? Are we not called to a higher mission in the world? It is a moral imperative that all people should be able to have their basic needs met. Should not Christians be leading the way in modeling a society based on the ideas expressed here in Hebrews? Ought we not be living in this manner so well that the society around us would be saying of us, “Look how much they love one another?”

Lord, your words are never less than challenging to us. But our faith in your grace, your loving fidelity, and your perfect wisdom, is sincere. Help us to have the courage to live in the manner of love that you have called us to in this life so that, when the Last Day comes, we may be welcomed into your heavenly kingdom and live in your loving presence forever. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.