Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Double Agents

No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and money.

-- Matthew 6:24

Maybe you’ve experienced (or are now going through) the discomfort and uncertainty of a job layoff or so-called corporate right-sizing. But if your career is at least a few years old, chances are that you’ve at some point gone job hunting on your own and landed a better position...and all while you were still earning a paycheck from your current company. You were the one who did the firing when you broke your big news to your boss. And if you followed accepted corporate protocol, you probably gave your employer a two weeks’ notice.

You were in the driver’s seat at that point. But still, it was likely an awkward situation - particularly if you were well-liked around the office. And odds are that you probably didn’t get much done during those final days on the job. Although you still appreciated your company and wanted it to succeed, you somehow felt out of place. Conversations with your co-workers became forced. And your efforts were sometimes half-hearted because you felt torn by your past accomplishments and your future endeavors.

Divided loyalties are uncomfortable when it comes to your career. But think about how they affect something that’s much more important: your spiritual life.

As Christ-followers, we’ve accepted God’s invitation to meet all our needs in every area of our lives. That covers deeply intimate issues involving our significance, happiness, value and self-worth. And let’s not forget our money and possessions. But deep down, too many of us would rather depend on our bank accounts, 401ks and job titles.

Unfortunately, money and possessions are often God’s greatest competitors for the loyalty of our hearts and minds. We think we can buy security and satisfaction, or even reach career milestones on our own merits. Our rationale is that if we’re doing OK on the job and there’s money in the bank, why should we depend on Him? That can be our mindset when we turn a good thing like money into a god thing. 

The fact is that what we do with our paychecks is a test of how well we use God’s blessings. And how we handle our finances is also an accurate barometer of our faith.

Our jobs, bank accounts, and health - those things in which we can mistakenly place our faith - can disappear overnight through either poor planning or unexpected circumstances. But the good news is that we worship a God who’s much greater than any natural disaster, economic downturn or international dispute. He literally spoke the universe into creation, formed great mountain ranges with His hands and parted the seas with a breath.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” asks the writer of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. As we peruse our bank statements, stock portfolios and resumes, it’s a question we would all do well to ask ourselves.

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