Who is Your Master: God or Money?

by Joe Plemon on February 11, 2011

Mat 6:24 “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.”

Jesus narrows life to only two choices: God or Money. Is he being overly simplistic? After all, what about career, family and education? Aren’t those choices too? Of course they are, but Jesus is presenting two categories under which all other life choices can fall. He wants us to filter all of our choices through God’s plans instead of our own.

Why”, you ask, “Does Jesus use money as the alternative to God. If God is good, does this mean that money is evil?

That is a great question. Money is neither good nor bad; it is a tool that a person can use for good or for evil. The bible never says that money is evil, but it does say that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus tells us that it is impossible to love both God and money. The challenge, therefore, is both simple and profound: “Which do I love?

Hopefully, the following questions will help you to flush out those loyalties. By the way, this is for me as well as you:

Do I acknowledge that everything belongs to God?

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell.”
Psalms 24:1

You can’t serve God above money until you realize that He already owns it all. He even owns us. We own nothing. He allows us to manage His assets, but never to claim them as our own.

Am I generous?

God is a giver…He gave his only son for us. John 3:16 Our responsibility to Him as we manage His assets is to use them as he would: generously. Tight fistedness is a symptom of loving the money more than we love God.

Am I cheerful about giving?

2Co 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. Giving cheerfully is a great sign of acknowledging God’s ownership.

Do I hoard my wealth?

Have you established a maximum (not minimum) limit on how much you will save before giving the rest of your wealth away? If not, you are in danger of being like the rich man Jesus called a fool (Luke 12:16-21). Consider the example of millionaire heavy equipment manufacturer R. G. LeTourneau who for years lived on 10% of his income and gave away 90%. “The question” LeTourneau said, “is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God’s money I keep for myself.

Do I accumulate stuff?

Look around. Is your garage or basement is filled with stuff that you no longer use? Do you pay for a storage shed to house your stuff? Do you keep clothing that you haven’t worn in over a year? Is it possible that you are hoarding “stuff” in a similar way that the rich man hoards his wealth? Does the thought if getting it out of your life cause you to hyperventilate? Hmmm. You just might have a misplaced loyalty.

Do I worry about money issues?

Worry is a symptom of misplaced trust. Jesus told the worry warts, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat 6:33)

How did you do?
I confess that I have several areas that I need to work on, especially the “accumulating stuff” one. I do a decent job of giving old clothes away, but I don’t have a good answer to why my basement is full of stuff I never use.   My vow: clean it out this spring!

Conclusion
It seems to me that whom we serve is a matter of trust. Most of us know that we need to serve God rather than serve money, but in our nation of affluence, do we REALLY trust God to take care of us if we were to lose all of our money, our 401(k), our retirement accounts, our home? Hopefully, we will never need to experience anything like that, but it has happened to others throughout history and it could certainly happen to us.

When I consider such calamities, I receive solace from this God-promise:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mat 6: 25, 33

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim @ Faith and Finance February 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

Another verse that really fits well with this article is Matthew 6:21 – Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I think the struggle between masters (God and money) isn’t something that’s fixed with a one time decision. It needs to be a constant reminder – at least from my experience. Good article Joe

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Dave@50plusfinance.com February 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Another thought provoking post. As usual you lay out the facts plainly. Our choices fall between what we want to do and what we think God wants us to do. We have a lot of info telling us the guidelines of what God wants us to do, we want to do right but the flesh is weak. Money is a tool but I have a lot of hands out wanting to take my tools.

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Rapid Gigabitz February 11, 2011 at 10:17 pm

i like it Who is Your Master: the boundless or Money? now im your rss reader

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joeplemon February 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

@Tim,
Right…this is not a one time only decision. Jesus told us to pick up our crosses daily. Deciding who our master is can be (and usually is) a process that needs to be refreshed regularly.

@Austin,
Thanks for you encouraging words and your candor. I think keeping money in its proper perspective is a constant struggle because it is something we deal with every day. Sort of like a person who is dealing with a food problem…he can’t just say “no” because the food is a constant part of his life. I hope this makes sense. :)

@Dave,
Jesus never said it was easy to follow him, did he? To the contrary, he often discouraged people from following him because he didn’t want watered down disciples. This being said, who wants to follow any leader who does not challenge us to the max? Will we ever get to the point where we follow God 100% and money 0%? I doubt it. But hopefully we can progressively allow God to have more and more of us. This is called growth.

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Kathrine@Accountancy Training Course July 20, 2011 at 5:36 am

That’s a tough question to those who don’t understand. To them, money is the one that makes the world go round. But to the believers, the world economy will turn even we only have God.

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joeplemon July 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

Kathrine,
So true. The vast majority of the world has no idea what we are talking about here. But those who know our God and want to serve Him can and will relate.

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Helen@Custom Printed Balloons August 10, 2011 at 2:23 am

Kathrine i can also agree to that. To those people who don’t know God, when they lost their money, they also lost everything. But to those people who have God, when they lost their money, they still have everything because they have God.

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