Have you ever wondered why Jesus, who many imagine as the most gentile person to ever live, angrily drove out the money changers in the temple courts? And have you thought about how you can apply lessons from this story to entrepreneurship? Hopefully, this article will help you learn from the money changers’ sinful behavior. My goal is for you to see the dangers of greed as an entrepreneur.
Jesus driving out money changers from the temple can teach entrepreneurs a good lesson about the dangers of greed and abusing your power, position, and influence.
Some people like to focus on the shocking revelation of Jesus’ (righteous) anger, but the story is deeper. Yes, Jesus flipped tables in the temple. But why did He do it? Read on and let’s explore.
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Why Jesus drove out the money changers in the temple courts
Jesus drove out the money changers in the temple courts because He knew that the Jewish temple was to be a house of worship, not a house of trade. And always showing a heart for the oppressed, Jesus didn’t like that the money changers were using a place that was to be dedicated for worshipping God as a place for robbing vulnerable worshipers.
In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” – John 2:14-16 ESV
Who are the money changers?
Good question. Today, the money changers are the people exploiting their influence in the visible church for financial gain by promising prayers and blessings to their followers in exchange for money.
During Jesus’ lifetime, the money changers were Jewish businessmen who collected the temple tax and exchanged foreign currencies into the Jewish currency when visitors came to over sacrifices at the temple.
GotQuestions.org states the following about the money changers in the temple courts vividly:
“The money changers in the temple courts were similar to tax collectors in that they extorted money from their own people. They were more than ordinary businessmen. They were seeking to profit financially from the worship of God.”
What Jesus thought about the money changers
Jesus saw the money changers as religious robbers!
Jesus and the money changers didn’t see eye-to-eye, to say the least. Jesus shared strong thoughts to and about the money changers in the temple. But not only did He say strong words, Jesus took action and physically removed them from the temple. My Lord wasn’t playing around!
He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:13 ESV
There’s no wonder why the Jewish religious and government establishment wanted to murder Jesus. He was destroying their profitable business.
What can entrepreneurs learn from the money changers’ greed?
It’s okay to be motivated by monetary gain, but it’s eternally dangerous to love money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Here are X things that entrepreneurs can learn from the money changers’ greed and how Jesus reacted to their deeds.
- Greed never pays off in God’s Kingdom.
God sees all. If a businessperson thinks they’re getting away with greedy practices, they’re really not. Even if such business practices are “legal,” they will eventually be exposed for what they really are — raw deals at the expense of others. Check-cashing and payday lending stores are examples of “legal” greedy businesses.
- Don’t take advantage of people in the name of religion or through pseudo good deeds. Your hurting people won’t end well for them or you.
The goal of business is to solve a problem for people. If you’re not keeping your promise to solve a problem that you were paid to solve, then you’re doing bad business. Even worse is if your business (or non-profit) is supposed to be doing something that benefits people in a humanitarian sense and you’re not holding up your end of the bargain.
- Showing partiality in your business is quite wicked.
Charging people more for a product or service because you don’t like them or because they’re not where you’re from or they’re different from you in some way is just not right. My wife experienced someone charging her more to get one of our daughter’s hair done when the person found out that my wife is a physician. Is that fair? Nope. Eventually, word will get around and your business will suffer in the process.
- Greed shows a lack of trust in God’s provision.
Of course, some business owners turn to ripping people off if they don’t believe in a God that will provide for their needs through good and honest business. Trust that God will reward your honest business dealings.
- Economic oppression is ungodly and will lead to your ruin.
Does it make sense to oppress people who want to support your business? Not at all! As I mentioned earlier, show no partiality in your business. If you focus on serving all people, your business will benefit and your customer will get what they need (at a fair price) as well.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Jesus
To recap, Jesus driving out money changers in the temple teaches entrepreneurs the following lessons about abusing your power in business:
- God hates greed.
- It’s not good to hide robbery behind pseudo-good deeds.
- Showing partiality in business is wicked.
- Greed shows a lack of trust in God.
- Economic oppression will lead to your ruin.
Money isn’t everything, y’all. Check out these 20 things besides money that can motivate you to do great things.