AMBROSE OF MILAN: VOLUNTARY OBEDIENCE
“God does not want His temple to be a trader’s lodge but the home of sanctity. He does not preserve the practice of the priestly ministry by the dishonest duty of religion but by voluntary obedience. Consider what the Lord’s actions impose on you as an example of living…
“He taught in general that worldly transactions must be absent from the temple, but he drove out the money changers in particular. Who are the moneychangers, if not those who seek profit from the Lord’s money and cannot distinguish between good and evil? Holy Scripture is the Lord’s money.”
Luke 19:45-48 records the famous scene where Jesus drives out the merchants and money- changers (see Matthew 21:12-17). Why? Ambrose reminds us that the preservation of God’s work and its ongoing sus- tenance is not rooted in money making ventures but rather voluntary obedience. But why would Jesus take such strong measures to cleanse God’s house?
The religious leaders believed (wrongly!) that money made ministry happen. Thus, they allowed a wide range of activities to fill God’s house that were focused solely on bringing in cash. This thinking is known as “the love of money” and though the religious leaders in Jesus’ day exhibited it (see Luke 16:14), those who oversee God’s work must not (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
Does your heart feel more like a trading post than a place of prayer? Is your church or ministry fixated on getting money or obeying God? Is it time for a house cleaning? Sit in silence for at least five minutes. Ask God to reveal areas in need of cleaning.
Gary G. Hoag
To read more from Lent Companion by Gary G. Hoag, please visit https://www.gtp.org/resources/ebooks/lent-companion