“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” – 2 Tim 3:1-5 (NIV)
During one of his missionary journeys the Apostle Paul met a slave girl with a gift of prophecy. Sensing a business opportunity her owners twisted this gift into a bonanza. “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling” (Acts 16:16). The girl became aware that these were men of God. Perhaps for that she kept following Paul and Silas taunting them. “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved” (vv 17). In the end “Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her” (vv 18).
The desire to profit from the Gospel did not start today nor is it about to end. During the ministry of Jesus he came across merchants who had turned the house of God into a forex bureau and livestock market (Mathew 21:12). One of the triggers of the reformation was the habit of the Catholic Church to ask for indulgences. For a fee people could pay for their beloved ones whose souls were hanging in purgatory. The money would then be used by the clergy to lavish themselves with all sorts of luxuries.
Every other day we come across those turning the things of God to materially profit. We have heard those who sell “miracle trees” and “miracle rings.” For a fee we hear of ministers who promise to send back spells of misfortune rather than winning evil over to Christ.
As believers we should be on guard of such. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them” (Mathew 7:15).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, just as then we live in the last days where wolves seeking to profit from your word are masquerading; may you give us the spirit of discernment to steer away from such and guard our faith!