Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him. Luke 16:14 (NASB)

Sandwiched between “the parable of the unjust steward” and the story of the rich man and Lazarus is an interesting verse. It is fascinating because a religiously conservative influence in “then” Jewish society “scoffed” at Jesus and his teachings. The Pharisees were the “main stream” voice for following scripture and returning to the ancient ways!

What is scoffing? Today, scoffing might be identified with these statements: “Surely you are not serious! You are kidding! Everyone knows it cannot work that way! That is ridiculous! God’s outlook does not allow such ridiculous thinking! Get serious!” In the Bible, scoffing is mocking or deriding.

Scoffing is too common among Christians. It often occurs when we seek to make society’s ways or values compatible with Jesus’ ways or values. If the call of society and the call of Jesus Christ are identical—at least similar—we can follow both Jesus and society if we avoid being a “bad” person. Hey, we could increase the appeal of being Christian if we can love money and love Jesus at the same time! If we could be Christian and live like everyone else, that would be great—hard choices would be eliminated!

Becoming a Christian is more than adopting a statement or agreeing with a declaration. It basically adopts a contrasting set of values. It is more than a list of “how tos”—how to worship, how to do church, etc. Christianity involves the courage to live as an example among people who say, “You are not serious! You have got to be kidding! Everyone knows that is not the way it works! That is ridiculous! Get serious!”

Being an example involves how you treat your spouse, your children, business, people you like, strangers, and even people you do not like. Most of all, it is about how you use life. These are not about rules and regulations, but about Jesus’ values in our lives.

Do you have the courage to follow Jesus to new values? Those values will make you an example! Those seeking hope will bless you for your courage to follow Jesus!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 9 May 2010

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