Judas Iscariot “was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).
Has it ever struck you as odd that Jesus put a thief in charge of his moneybag?
Of all the disciples, Jesus chose Judas to be treasurer of his itinerant nonprofit. One is tempted to offer the Lord some consulting on good stewardship. Donors were financially supporting this ministry (Luke 8:3) and the one guy who Jesus knew was a “devil” (John 6:70) was made CFO.
Now, Jesus was not ignorant of Judas’s pilfering. So why did he let him manage the money?
I believe Jesus was putting his money where his mouth was.
He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where. . . thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). So he showed us by example what he meant.
He said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). So he showed us the heart-hardening, heart-blinding, heartbreaking end of treasuring the wrong thing.
He said, “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” (Matthew 6:24). So he showed us an unnerving example of what loving money and hating God can look like. Shockingly, for quite a while it can actually look to others like devotion to God. Judas was known as Jesus’ disciple. He was mostly saying and performing the right things, so even the other disciples didn’t seem to suspect him (John 13:28-29). It was a grievous blow when Judas’s subterranean idolatry surfaced.
With Judas and the moneybag Jesus was modeling for us where not to put our trust: money. He so trusted his Father to provide everything he needed to fulfill his call that he was not afraid of a money shortage. He slept in peace, even knowing that Judas was embezzling.
Judas, on the other hand, became the poster child of 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Jesus doesn’t intend for us to follow his example in appointing thieves as treasurers. Only God is wise enough to do that. But he does intend for us to follow his example in seeking the kingdom first, believing that all we need will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). And our Father can easily out-give what any thief can steal.