Money, jobs, the economy, economic impact, the working class, the one percent, the national debt – Have any of these been discussed recently?
No, I haven’t missed the discussions; that was a poor attempt at sarcasm. As a matter of fact, it seems that money often drives all other decisions. Even the current discussion over a proposed bathroom bill in the Texas Legislature (whoever thought we’d be having this discussion) is often couched in economic impact terms. How much money will our state lose over businesses and events that will not come to Texas if we demand that people use the restroom that coincides with the gender on their birth certificate?
No, I am not wading into the political waters on this. That was just an example of how money can be the driver in almost every discussion.
I’ve been pondering the whole money problem since I recently re-read these words of Jesus in Luke 16:13 – “You cannot serve both God and money.”
In considering this statement from Jesus, I’ve come to some conclusions about the relationship between God and money. These are not in any particular order, except the order in which I thought of them during one of my early morning pondering sessions.
- You can serve God without money. People all over the world, in the deepest poverty, still manage to center their lives around the living out of their faith.
- You can serve money without God. People all over the world, no matter their economic status, are driven by the consuming passion to acquire more.
- You can use money to serve God. People all over the world, no matter their economic status, have figured out ways to use the financial resources they have in a way that serves the focus of their faith. Some of them have continued to prosper and their prosperity has resulted in increased generosity and impact for the Kingdom of God.
- You cannot use God to serve money. There are certainly charlatans and hucksters who have claimed faith and ministry as a means to line their own pockets. It may work for awhile. How long it works is always longer that we think it should be. But a time of reckoning will come.
- God is the proper focus and motivation for worship and service. God is not particularly interested in being anyone’s #1 priority. God’s place is not the first of many, but the Center of all.
- Money is a tool to be used in worship and service. It is a neutral object. When an object becomes the focus and motivation, it becomes service to a false god. One word for that is “idolatry.”
- God is to be worshiped and served because we love Him and have come to understand His love for us.
- Money is to be used. It is not to be collected and hoarded but used for good and Godly purposes.
- God is always good. Always.
- Money is good when it is used for its intended purpose. I was once on the Board of Directors of an independent ministry organization whose stated financial purpose was to rejoice as much in money that they spent in ministry to others as they did in contributions made to their ministry.
I’m not suggesting that a commitment to God will solve all your “money problems.” I am suggesting that a recognition that your life matters to Him can keep you from being enslaved by it.