If you’re like me, you have days in the writing process when you tell yourself you wouldn’t do this for any amount of money or fame—at times it’s just too difficult. We all know money should never motivate the ministry of writing lest it taint the entire project.
Of course, the laborer is worthy of his reward (1 Tim 5:18) and by necessity money usually becomes a byproduct of hard work. Not that there is anything wrong with outlandish (but healthy) dreams about bestsellers and book contracts. Yet, as a writer for Jesus we must periodically remind ourselves of the real reason we labor lest we fall into the same downward spiral as Apostle Judas.
Contrary to the way most artist depict Judas, he was likely the most charismatic and dedicated man in the group. When looking for a financial secretary to keep the bag, we wouldn’t choose the dark, sullen man with the pointed eyebrows like artists have illustrated. We’d choose the most reliable person in the group, the one who exhibited sterling qualities and trustworthiness. I feel confident Judas was the most liked member of the group and had all the potential to be the super apostle of his day. After all, it was Apostle Paul who replaced Judas.
The name Judas implies he was from the tribe of Judah. This tribe had the responsibility of leading praise and worship for the nation of Israel. Most of Israel’s musicians came from the tribe of Judah. It makes sense then, that the English word translated bag was the Greek word for container for reeds (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
I picture Judas digging deep inside his knapsack looking for something to hold the money and finding the little bag where he stored the reeds for his instrument. It must have been the perfect place to store a few coins at first, but as the offerings grew the money must have crowded out the reeds until it became only the money bag.
Sadly, this was symbolic of Judas life and downfall. His ministry began with the right motive, his vessel filled with worship and praise, but the love for monetary gain crowded out his worship. In that condition, his end was inevitable. Unable to forgive himself for betrayal, his last known act before suicide was to throw the money on the temple floor.
As Christian writers, we can learn from the pattern of Judas’ decline. Our ministry must first glorify and honor Him who created all things—money, by nature will follow.