This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s Message: I Love my church…Love in Service (WATCH HERE).
Giving and generosity can be a touchy topic in the church. When one starts to give direction to bank accounts and budgeting, it gets pretty personal. Yet of all the topics which Jesus teaches on there are over 2000 passages in the Bible that talk about money. A large number of parables that Jesus teaches speak to money topics and three of the 10 commandments speak directly to my interaction with material things.
So why so much time spent on money?
Perhaps the generic charge, “All the church talks about is money” or “All the church wants is my money” is shallow at best, very wrong at worst.
However, if the topic of giving and generosity is made in the context of dollars and sense and the appeal and ask is always about more money, one can understand the frustration of parishoners.
But here’s the truth. Giving is not a dollar and sense issue. Giving is a heart issue.
Because it’s a heart issue, that’s why Jesus deems it so important to guard our heart against the love of money and free it by the love of God.
Matthew 6:24 “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.
We often think about “having” money. Jesus points out the reality that our hearts can be convinced to “serve” money. That means that our heart and our lives become slaves to money (or to God). Money has the potential to be our master.
It controls what we do. Money can quickly become the priority of our lives. Our focus can become making as much money as possible. Our focus can be spending the countless hours at work to gain a higher paying position or earning a substantial year-end bonus. Money can give us options that take our time and energy. Recreation and travel can take us away from time with Jesus. Having a lot of stuff can mean a lot of time taking care of that stuff. Money can easily call our name, command our attention, and control our daily actions.
In this verse Jesus doesn’t tell us which one to follow, he just challenges by saying “You can’t do both.” As Christians we’d love to have all the wealth and what it offers AND love God. This is possible, but we can’t allow a mixed loyalty. It is one or the other…God or money.
When a Christian leader from an African country was asked about what he noticed was the “hidden sin” of American Christianity, he quipped, “You have buildings built just to store stuff.” His point? Materialism has crept into the norm of American lifestyle and every Christian, but perhaps American Christians a bit more, is tempted to love money, things, stuff more than God and as a result life becomes about serving them more than serving God.
So let’s start off the week on giving and generosity by repenting of our love of money and our willingness to let it be our master. Our heart can have only one loyalty. By God’s grace and forgiveness, I pray that in my heart and yours any serving of money is quickly replaced by serving God…for he is the one who gave us that which is most valuable, his Son Jesus.
Apply: Where in your life does the love of money creep in…or take full control? Ask the Lord to forgive and realign your heart to first and only serving God.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my heart that is easily deceived into thinking money and material wealth are what is most important. Change my heart and my focus to only love and serve you! AMEN.