Well, we endured one more Black Friday celebration of insane consumerism. I personally did not participate in this frenzy to spend the almighty dollar. I instead spent time with my 6-month-old grandson. I did however see some of the lines, watch the people waiting for hours just to save a few dollars on the item they wanted. All of this led me to question whether or not money has become the master of millions, including many born-again Christians.
Who Is Your Master?
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Now before you think that I am anti-money, let me clarify some things. Money is a tool. It is what we use to exchange time, expertise, and goods for something that is considered of the same value. Money is necessary. So I am not anti-money. What I am concerned with is when we base our lives, the way we live our lives, and the decisions that our lives bring us solely upon the financial effect it will have. Let me give you some examples.
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You work extra hours so you can have more money. For some people, this is necessary just to survive. But honestly, for most people, this is done so they can have a nicer house, newer cars, boats, RV’s, and expensive electronic toys. If you are making the decision to spend less time with your family, have less time to volunteer at your church, less time to help your neighbor just so you can have more “stuff”, then the money is your master.
You choose a job with a family-unfriendly shift so you can have more money. Again the same criteria here is the same as #1. If you are doing this so you can have more stuff, or have more toys, then you based your decision on money alone and not the long-term detrimental effect shift work can have on a marriage and family. I have spent 3.5 years ministering in a community that has a predominance of shift work. I have seen first hand the condition of the marriages, children, and the inability that shift workers have in plugging into a church and becoming faithful in their service to their fellow believers.
You treat people differently if you are afraid you are going to lose money. This is what I call the hoarding mentality. If a person is controlled by the money they are always evaluating whether or not relationships will cost them something. Instead of having a mentality of blessing and giving, they are afraid they are going to lose. If you are always assessing what things are going to cost you rather than looking for ways to bless and give, then money is your master.
You see opportunity only through the eyes of financial advancement. People who do this would never become missionaries to Africa or South America. They would never agree to pastor a church in rural America. They would never fathom that God might call people to take challenges and risks that have a very little financial reward. If your perspective on what is a good decision is based solely on what financial gain or reward is in the decision, then the money is your master.
Those are just a few things that come to mind when evaluating whether or not you are making money your master. Let me ask you this. This year did you cut off your Thanksgiving time with your family just so you could save a few dollars? What does that say about the amount of value you place on your family vs. the amount of value you place on saving a few dollars?
Jesus made it clear. You cannot serve two masters. There will be times when serving God places you at direct odds with serving money. He may ask you to sell all you have.
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
He may tell you not to store up treasures on this earth.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
He may tell you not to take anything for your journey.
“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
All of these things fly directly in the face of serving money. They also fly directly in the face of what is pawned off as Christian Stewardship at times. You have to know how to use money but not be controlled by it.
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