“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24, NIV)
The Sermon on the Mount is filed with some of Jesus’ most challenging words. Blessed are those who are persecuted. Turn the other cheek when attacked. Love your enemy and pray for them.
Of all the teachings Jesus gives us in this sermon it is these words from Matthew 6:24 that challenges us the most each day. That is because everyday our finances dictate how we live our lives.
This doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor. Our finances have power over us. They dictate how we live and, often sadly, how we view others. Finances influences many of our daily decisions from what we will eat to what we will do with our free time.
Jesus knew this. He knew how money influenced life in the Roman government and for the people of Judea. That’s why he spoke these difficult words. What does Jesus mean by them? Jesus is saying that when we are controlled by our finances we have trouble seeing God’s grace and provision. Truly we have a hard time trusting God when we are beholden to our money.
That is the main issue. We cannot completely trust God’s provisions and direction if we are controlled by our finances. That is because we see ourselves as the provider and maker of all things. Yet, it is God who graciously and lovingly provides. What God desires is that we move away from seeing money as the most important thing and to allow our relationship with God to define this important aspect of our lives.
However, we struggle with this. The reason is that we don’t want to let go of our money or to let go of it controlling our lives. It’s hard to step away from something that has so much power over us. When we do let go of money’s grip on our lives and trust God’s provision we will see ourselves more able to live within our means, to live freer lives, and to see God’s grace in all things.
What would it look like, then, for us to let go of our need to be controlled by our money? What if we allowed God and our relationship with the Lord to direct how we see money and finances? What would be different about us? Our families? Our church?
What would be different about today?