Have you ever made a dumb decision with money?
I thought so. Me, too.
The crazy thing is this: I will go out of my way to pick up a dime on a sticky floor, but I don’t think twice about blowing $10 on a whim. Money is weird.
Money is more than weird; it’s important.
Even my three-year-old son, Luke, understands that money is important. He knows that I have to use my “money card” before we can leave Target with what we have put in the cart. He even knows enough to ask me what kind of toy he can get: “Dad, can I get a pensive (an expensive) toy or just a little car?”
Money matters. And because money matters, Jesus talked about it a lot.Money matters. And because money matters, Jesus talked about it a lot. Click To Tweet
Here’s one of His most famous teachings on money: “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 God and be enslaved to money.” (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
I’ve always thought this verse was curious. Maybe it’s just me, but I would expect Jesus to finish the last sentence with another word…
- You cannot serve God and be enslaved to Satan.
- You cannot serve God and be enslaved to hate.
- You cannot serve God and be enslaved to the world.
But Jesus doesn’t use any of those words. He says money.
The Greek word used here for “money” is a little more expansive than simply meaning cash. It means “money and all the stuff it can buy.”
Jesus is communicating to us that when our attention is being divided between chasing God and chasing money, we will default to chasing money and abandoning our chase after God’s heart.When our attention is being divided between chasing God and chasing money, we will default to chasing money and abandon our chase after God’s heart. Click To Tweet
Jesus is setting up a choice here. He’s drawing a line in the sand.
Will you chase God or chase money? It’s not a both/and situation—it’s an either/or situation.
It’s here that I’m tempted to say to myself, “Yea, rich people, choose either God or money!” But, that’s completely missing the point Jesus is making here. Jesus isn’t talking to rich people—he’s making a point to all people.
I may not have a yacht in the Hamptons, but I like the stuff money can buy. So what does this verse mean for people like you and me?
A new truck.
A new smartphone.
A new this.
A new that.
The more things we buy with our money, the less money we have.The less money we have, the more we need to make ends meet. The more we need to make ends meet, the more we focus we put on money. The more we focus on money, the less we chase after God.
Stressing over money isn’t about how much we make—it’s about the difference between how much we make versus how much we spend. It’s not about the number of zeros in your paycheck; it’s about how much of your paycheck you have left at the end of the month.
If we want to live a life free from having to panic and focus on always getting more and more money to make sure we make ends meet, we have to spend less than we earn intentionally. We need to create a financial margin in our lives.
Remember, “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 God and be enslaved to money.” (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
Our master can be God, or our master can be money.
We get to choose.
For more biblical perspective on money, check out Pastor Stephen’s message: Margin with Money.