The final business value we’ll look at in the Bible is God’s desire that we don’t use the Church for business. The Bible relates at least two instances where Jesus spoke out against people who were turning religion into a business and greedily taking profits on the sacrifices and offerings used at the Temple.
The first instance we see is in the Gospel of John, not long after Jesus was baptized and turned the water into wine:
14 He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. 15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!”
John 2:14-16 (WEB)
The rest of the Gospels also relate what seems to be a second incidence where Jesus spoke out against using the Temple for business:
15 They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. 16 He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. 17 He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!”
Mark 11:15-17 (WEB)
This passage is also found in Matthew 21:12-13 and Luke 19:45-46.
The religious leaders and merchants had made a business out of selling space in the Temple courtyard, animals for sacrifices, and exchanging foreign money for Jewish money. They desecrated the Temple by using it for business instead of prayer and teaching God’s Word. It’s also thought they were using the Court of the Gentiles for this business, which was the only place the Gentiles were allowed to be in the Temple. A busy marketplace would make it much more difficult to pray to God and learn from a teacher.
Jesus understood that God’s Temple should be used only for glorifying Him. In their greed, the religious leaders and merchants forgot the purpose of the Temple. The love of money blinded them to the unrighteousness they were committing and replaced the love for God they should have had instead.
We see this same exploitation of religion in the early church throughout the New Testament, and we still see it today. Many people use faith and godliness as a means to worldly gain, and in their greed they mislead and steal from many. The body of Christ should have His same zeal for God and not allow the Gospel to be used in such a way. If you see this happening in your church, speak out against it and do not fear man. If you are involved in such greedy gain through religion, repent and seek Jesus. Ask Him to pour His Holy Spirit over you and give you a burning love for God instead of love for money.
Jesus wants us to carefully revere the Lord and be on guard against the dangers that greed presents for our witness to the world. Any exploitation of the Word for profit and dishonest gain has devastating effects on those who do not believe, and it can have even more destructive effects on those who do believe. Greed and love of money destroy the Church and rip the body of Christ into pieces.
Maintain Jesus’ zeal for God, and do not use the church for business. Don’t turn religion into a business so you can profit off the faith of others. While there is Biblical teaching for supporting those who minister in the Word, there is even stronger teaching against those who use the Word for greedy gain. There’s a distinct difference between a pastor or any church worker who is content in Christ on a salary of $30,000 or $40,000 (or even less!) and one who lives on $100,000 or $200,000 or more. The apostle Paul even went so far as to take no support for his ministry in some cases so he could be a better example to the churches.
Pray for the Spirit’s discernment and guidance that you do not get involved in such greedy use of the Church. And if you see such greed that needs to be confronted, pray for how you should approach the situation. It may require the zeal that Jesus showed, or it may require a different course of action. Either way, we should be outraged when we see such things happening and we should follow Jesus’ example in purging it from our churches.