Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?

Most of you already know what's coming next. I'd like to share with you the lyrics of a certain song by Archer and Atkins, popularized by Ray Stevens.

Woke up this mornin' turned on my TV set.
There in livin' color was somethin' I can't forget.
This man was preachin' at me.. yeah.. layin' on the charm,
Asking me for 20 with 10,000 on his arm.

He wore designer clothing and a big smile on his face,
Selling me salvation while they sang Amazing Grace,
Asking me for money when he had all the signs of weath.
Almost wrote a check out.. yeah.. but then I asked myself…

Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car?
Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressing room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow there's something I'd like to know.
Would Jesus wear a rolex on His television show?

Would Jesus be political if he came back to earth?
Have his second home in Palm Springs.. yeah.. but try to hide his worth?
Take money from those poor folks when He comes back again,
And admit He's talked to all those preachers who said they'd been-a talking to Him?

Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car?
Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressing room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow there's something I'd like to know.
Would Jesus wear a rolex on His television show?

Who do we worship? It's a simple question, isn't it? We worship God. There is a special focus on God in the person of Jesus. We worship Jesus. But which Jesus do we worship? It may seem a very strange question, but it is an important one.

There is a place in the far east called the temple of a thousand bhuddas. If you're a bhuddist, you can go there and look around at all the different bhuddas. When you find one that looks like you, you worship that one. Sounds silly, doesn't it? If Bhudda is real, and we all accept that he is (what he's doing now is another matter entirely), then he is what he is. If I were to worship him, I'd want to worship the real buddha, free of any distortions man may have made to him. Fortunately for us all, I don't worship Bhudda, I worship Christ. But people do the same thing to Christ that that they have done to Bhudda.

Now I am not talking about physical appearances. I'd be in hot water if I did that myself. I draw Jesus as a sheep regularly. Others depict Him as a lion. That's not something we need to worry about. I know He doesn't mind because those are metaphors he has applied to Himself. Jesus' face isn't important. whether He has a beard or is clean shaven, whether He has short hair or long, Whether He's white or olive, those things don't matter. Isaiah told us that there was nothing special about Jesus' looks. What is important is His character, and people like to recreate the Lord's character in their own image.

In much of America, the Jesus you hear about is not the first century jew who wandered about the countryside of Galilee, Samaria and Judea preaching the gospel free of charge. This Jesus is more like the guy who wants you to buy his book "I made a billion dollars with just five loaves and two fish and you can too!" The Jesus which many churches are preaching is one who wants you to be healthy and wealthy. If you just send Him a hundred dollars, he'll make sure you receive a thousand times that in return. He'll bless you until your wallet is filled to overflowing.

Is this the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Did Jesus ever offer to make anyone rich? I sure don't remember that. Consider what he said to the rich man, whom tradition says was Mark. "Sell everything you have and follow me." Mark (if indeed it was mark) was devastated. He liked being rich! Jesus was not offering to make him wealthy, he was asking him to become poor! Never once did Jesus say that giving Him gifts of money would result in a greater return of money, yet preachers the world over are preaching this financial gospel. The truth is that if you're gullible enough, somebody is going to be financially blessed. It's just not going to be you. A lot of people have been buying into their financial gospel and becoming disillusioned when it doesn't work. Meanwhile, the charletains are making a killing at the expense of people's souls. Is that our Jesus? I should say not.

Others try to rewrite Jesus' personality to suit their own agenda. They say things like "If Jesus were here, He'd tell you to have lots of kids so that you can out-breed the democrats." or "Jesus would tell you to put in your fair share of work in the kitchen." or "Jesus said you're supposed to split those profits with me because I'm your brother!" Even while Jesus was on Earth, people did this to him. They assumed that His priorities were the same as theirs. I think their way of thinking goes like this: If I were wrong, I'd change my opinion. Thus, I can be confident that I am always right. Jesus is always right. Therefore, we agree. the problem is that this manner of thinking is backwards. If you're wrong, how are you going to know you're wrong? You need to compare yourself to the one who is always right. Don't make assumptions about him based on what you think. Change your thinking to reflect what He tells you.

We have become fond of the phrase "What would Jesus do?" And it's a good motto. When faced with a difficult question, problem or situation, it is good to ask what Jesus would do and try to follow in His footsteps. What we must NOT do is blindly assume that we know what He would do. Martha made that assumption, and she was wrong. The man in chapter twelve made the same assumption and he was also wrong. Now sometimes the answer is obvious. If someone is suffering and it is within your power to relieve their suffering, doing whatever you can to help is Christlike behavior. Sometimes, our own priorities color our perceptions. There are many things which we consider precious which Jesus didn't care about and continues not to care about.

Jesus doesn't care how long your hair is or how often you trim your claws. He doesn't care if you're black or white or purple or blue. He doesn't care whether you like rap or country or classical or even grunge. These things are important only to us mortal children who have barely gotten a glimpse of the more important matters in life. He's not interested in making you wealthy. In fact, wealth often gets in the way of what truly does concern Him: making sure you come out to be a good person who loves God with all your heart.

Money devalues. Clothes rot. Toys break. Houses crumble. These things aren't important because they don't last anyway. Things that last are few, but as the material passes away, these things remain: Faith, hope and love. These are Jesus' greatest desires for you. Not that you be married, not that you have a dream job, not that you have a fine car and a big house. Not even that you have all your limbs. I'm sure He wouldn't mind showering you with all kinds of material blessings, and He has promised to do so in Heaven, when we are mature enough to handle them. But what he wants most is for you to have the hope of salvation, to demonstrate faith in Him and in His Father, and to love the Lord and your neighbor just as God loves you. The greatest of these is love!

To answer the question "Would Jesus wear a Rolex?" Perhaps, briefly, if someone gave it to him. To Him, it would just be a watch, its only inherrent value created by the love with which it is given. Jesus never indulged in splendor or opulence because He understood that such things are unimportant and He wanted to get that point across to the rest of us. (takes off his tie and lays it on the pulpit) And while there is nothing morally wrong with wealth, when I look at preachers who wear pinky rings and thousand dollar suits and their wives are painted up like the ladies of Van Buren Avenue with furs and stoals, I have to wonder what in the world they're trying to communicate. For me, one built-in fur coat is all I need to stand up here and preach, and if we want to be like Jesus, I think tossing out all the frills and finery and bling is an excellent first step. I'm not here to impress you. You shouldn't be looking at me. You should be coming here to hear the word of God preached. (picks up bible) If this is so weak that you need me to prance around in sparkling gold and shiny silk to make it worth listening to, then it's a pretty pathetic book indeed.

What Jesus should we preach? Not the social Jesus. Not the money Jesus. Our Jesus is the God of love. He is the one who performed the ultimate act of love. He took your sins upon himself and He died on the cross to atone for them so that you can be reconciled to God and have eternal life. He loves you so much that He did all this for you and all you have to do is accept it. That is the Jesus we need to be preaching. He didn't give us the commission to go into all the world and tell people to send money. He told us to share the gospel.

Jesus wouldn't wear a Rolex, but He would wear a crown of thorns. He wouldn't wear a pinky ring, but he would take a nail through the hand. This is the Jesus we preach.

Today's reading: Luke 10:38-42, 12:13-15
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
14 Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?"
15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."