Friday, January 6, 2012

One for the Money

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

The essence of being a Christ-follower is accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. So rather than following the world's wisdom about life, relationships, possessions and money, Christ-followers see these things in a very different light. That's because our minds begin to transform as soon as we follow Jesus in earnest. What once seemed so valuable and desirable loses its luster and fades into oblivion. The world's silver and gold begins to rust.

If you're a Christ-follower, you've accepted God's offer to meet all your needs in every area of your life. That covers deeply intimate issues involving significance, happiness, value and self-worth...and of course our money and possessions. Unfortunately, too many of us depend on the size of our bank accounts, 401ks and stock portfolios for security. We struggle for years to build up a nest egg. But even when we "make it to the top" by the world's standards, the so-called victory turns out to be a worthless idol that gains us nothing once we leave this life.

As the saying goes, money is a fine servant but a terrible master. We start confusing our self worth with our net worth. And it's then that we turn good but neutral things (money and possessions) into god things.

So who's the master of your money, time...and stuff?

It's a question with eternal implications. After all, what we do with our God-given resources is an ongoing test of how we put the True Master first in our lives. As Christ-followers, we're to recognize that ultimately, everything belongs to God. We're simply caretakers while we're here on earth. And no matter the size of our bank accounts, we can't take even a dime with us. We must therefore ask ourselves if we're spending our money on the world's definition of success or investing it where it will make an eternal difference.

Money and possessions aren't evil. It's only when we abuse them through bad choices and priorities that they can become a slave master that pushes God aside. But Jesus has a better way: He sees these gifts as tools for helping other people, achieving justice and spreading His Kingdom here on earth. And besides, it's all His, anyway. So let's open ourselves to His will and use our God-given resources as He sees fit.

"Well done, good and faithful servant," Jesus says. "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"

May these be the words that greet us as we enter His kingdom. 

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