Blessed…All About the “Benjamins”

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, “What will you give me if I turn Jesus over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver.  From that time on he was looking for an opportunity to turn him in (Matthew 26:14-16, Common English Bible).

In yesterday’s lesson, a woman, in his Gospel John says it was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, brought a jar of expensive perfume and poured it out on Jesus’ feet and then dried the feet with her hair.

One of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, was not impressed by these generous actions. He insisted that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. John also points out that Judas was a thief. John believed Judas wanted the perfume sold because, as the group’s treasurer, he could have helped himself to the money.

I have given this some thought over the past couple of months as I preached on John’s version of this story not long ago. Assuming that John was correct, Judas was all about the money, “all about the Benjamins” as the phrase used to go. Judas wanted what he could get.

Still, what could possess a man to turn on Jesus despite all he had seen during his time as a disciple? When you got to see the miraculous unfold day after day, would that not be enough? Obviously, it was not.

Regardless of whether John’s belief that Judas was a thief or not, it does seem pretty clear that Judas was more motivated by the secular than he was by the spiritual. And, in spite of all we have, all too often, we are more like Judas than most of us would care to admit.

As I write this, I have been researching buying a new car. My current car is getting old and its mileage is getting pretty high. Even if I choose not to buy now, I will probably have to buy before much longer. The temptation is to buy not for practical reasons but to buy for status reasons. I want one car even if having it makes no sense to my life. Society in general and television, in particular, reminds me, I should get what I want. That will make me happy and I deserve to be happy.

Even if it is not a car, for most of us, it is something. Something that, if only I could have this, I would be happy. It may be a car, money, a house, or something completely different (I have talked before about my love of guitars, they fit here too). Whatever it is, we believe they will make us happy. Then, once we have them, it isn’t long before the new wears off and we either regret the decision or we want something else new, something else that will make us happy.

Judas choose the money he thought would make him happy. As we will soon see, that money did nothing to make one Judas Iscariot a happy man. Think about people who have more than they could use in a lifetime. For many, like Judas, they still aren’t happy and they still are not fulfilled. That is because, money or stuff, will never make us truly happy or fulfilled. We have to find that fulfillment in some other place. We find it in living out the will of God.

Where do you find happiness and fulfillment?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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