In a number of circumstances over the past few months, a verse keeps resurfacing in my mind. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Our culture is driven by money and possessions. Our choices are often founded on some kind of financial decision. Which job to pursue? Which budget to implement? How much to give? How much to save? And the decisions go on and on.
Now, don’t get me wrong, God does ask us to be wise stewards. This includes finances, time, talents, spiritual gifts, and more. We are to exercise wisdom and self-control in our spending. The spiritual discipline of self-denial is not popular, and not practiced much in our instant-gratification culture. Waiting is not fun. I am guilty of giving in to my whims and desires, even if it is not the financially responsible thing to do. For this blog, however, I am not writing about financial stewardship.
I am talking about when we are faced with a choice or a decision to follow or reject something based on financial advantages and disadvantages. In these times we sometimes ignore the Spirit’s leading, or can make a choice that is outright disobedient to God’s revealed will. Then we rationalize our choice by saying God would understand; or even telling ourselves (or others) we don’t have other options. Let’s face it, our government has set itself up to give financial advantages to people who remain unmarried, and yet, have crossed over into a sexual relationship God only intended to be experienced in the context of marriage. Or others, who are married, seek and allow for divorce because of financial issues and conflicts within the marriage. The results of these choices is serving the master of money rather than God.
Sometimes, however, it is a situation where we fail to trust and follow God in an area that requires more faith. Perhaps you or your husband feels called to the ministry, and yet the financial sacrifice seems too great, or even impossible. Maybe it is deciding to be a stay-at- home mom, and sacrificing a second vehicle to make it work. Often we believe that money offers us the security we long for. After prayerfully seeking the LORD in these decisions, we need to cast off the fear, and ask God for more faith. I love what one man in Scripture said to the LORD, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When we ask, we must trust God to give us what we need in order to follow Him . . . and of course, if you are married, praying for your spouse to have the same faith and to be of one mind—and then waiting for God to answer that prayer!
When we follow the LORD, He promises to provide for His children! It may not result in all the material possessions that we think we need, but it will be sufficient for what we actually need. In that same Sermon on the Mount when the LORD tells us we cannot serve both God and money, He also says, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33). Faith and obedience should be the foundation for our decision making—not financial gain! As believers, let us encourage one another to live a life of faith, not one bound by money.
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