Investing in Jesus’ Work (Luke 8:3; 10:7)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

The parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-13) teaches the importance of using money wisely. Luke provides examples in the persons of those who invest their money in Jesus’ work: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna are named alongside the twelve disciples because of their financial support for Jesus’ work. It is surprising how prominently women figure in this list, because few women in the ancient world possessed wealth. Yet “these women were helping to support them out of their own means” (Luke 8:3, NIV). Later, when Jesus sends out evangelists, he tells them to depend on the generosity of the people among whom they serve, “for the laborer deserves to be paid” (Luke 10:7).

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What may seem surprising is that these two somewhat off-hand comments are all that Luke says about giving to what we would now recognize as the church. Compared to the unceasing concern Jesus shows for giving to the poor, he doesn’t make much of giving to the church. Nowhere, for instance, does he interpret the Old Testament tithe as belonging to the church. This is not to say that Jesus sets generosity to the poor against generosity to the church. Instead, it is a matter of emphasis. We should note that giving money is not the only means of generosity. People also participate in God’s redemptive work by creatively employing their skills, passions, relationships, and prayers.