“No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”
If you’ve been in the church for a long time, perhaps you know this to be true. Let me explain. In Mark 6, we read about Jesus coming to his hometown of Nazareth. I like to think of it kind of like Johnny Brantley coming home to Ocala. I’ve heard many a good Ocalan refer to him as “our boy!” Yet, how many people in Ocala actually “know” him, in the true sense of the word? Not many I suspect. When Jesus returns home, we read that “they took offense at him.” The folks that are most familiar with him, at the same time forsake him. Having grown up in the church myself, I find this phenomenon working in my own heart all the time. The Scriptures elsewhere call it being “double-minded,” giving lip service to God, yet living as if his Lordship has no place in our lives.
With money, assume that since you live in America, everything you know and believe about money is backwards (this golden nugget came from Ted). For most of us, the most significant time that our money and our God meet is in the offering plate. Yet, perhaps, when we think we are serving God, money still retains its place on the throne of our hearts. We spend the other 99% of our week managing our money to take care of our lives, and then use the rest of it to appease that part of our image-bearing conscience that tells us we should put some cash in the plate. In the end, the Lord is really after our hearts. But before you manipualte that truth into the reality that perhaps we don’t really need to give money – our heart might just be enough – think of the connection between money and your heart. Matthew says there is a way for us to “serve” money, like a slave. Both the millionaire and the family that lives hand to mouth can be slaves to money. The hand to mouth family may begin to decide that, “Yes we’ll tithe, but only after we are certain that our needs are taken care of, and if we can’t make it, then we’ll bring our hearts to the Lord as an offering.” Yet now, with respect to giving, their circumstances are determinative, not the call of the Lord. They are a slave to their money, even though they have very little. Even as I’m writing, it feels a little bit presumptuous as a poor 24 yeard old to muse about these things. However, I’m slowing learnin from you older, wiser folks that the Lord’s call in my life is to give out of my firstfruits. Anything less is to distrust the Lord, and ultimately to “despise” him as Matthew says. A friend of mine once told me that her money is the best window into her heart. Through the lens of your money, what does the landscape of your heart look like today?