God and Money: This Struggle of Ours

One of the most talked about subjects in the Bible is money.  That’s not surprising since every society that I am aware of has some form of currency and everyone I know of, including myself, wants some.  Hence, I can also understand why money is at the root of so much evil.

However, let’s be honest about it.  We need money!  And don’t tell me we don’t because money is how we buy food, clothing, gas, pay the mortgage or rent, pay for child care, and on and on it goes.  Practically speaking, without money we’ll find ourselves neck deep in a world of trouble.

Yet Jesus tells us that we cannot serve both God and money (Matt 6:24).  And that’s where the real problem lays.  We want to serve God.  After all, we’re Christians and we’ve given our allegiance to God by declaring our faith in Jesus Christ through confession and baptism.  But we need money too.  And so we find it difficult to serve God and not money.

Or at least I do sometimes.  But my experience as a pastor has taught me that I’m not the only one who struggles from time to time with serving God rather than money.  You see, it’s easy to serve God rather than money when we’re not pressed hard for any need.  It’s easy to serve God until we’re faced with decisions in which doing the right thing, following Jesus, and so on appears from the front to jeopardize us, leaving us in some financially perilous situations.

Yet in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus reminds us that just as God cares for the birds and flowers, so also will God—who knows our needs—care for us.  Then Jesus says specifically in v. 33, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NRSV).  In other words, we can trust God to provide for our needs, so stop worrying and simply live for God’s kingdom and righteousness.  But that’s never so easy.  The decisions we often make, some more than others, are based on money and cost first rather than God’s kingdom and righteousness.  Churches do it as well.  If you’ve ever been in a church meeting where the only concern is budget matters then you know what I’m talking about.

And then we wonder why it’s hard to cultivate discipleship in others.

Whom we serve—God or money—is a discipleship issue.  If we want to make disciples, we must live as disciples ourselves.  And Jesus is telling us that we must let go of our money concerns and put God’s kingdom and righteousness first if we want to live as a disciple.  And we’ll never do that unless we think about it, pray about it, and seek it.  So

Think…

Pray…

Seek…

And know that God is faithful!

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2 responses to “God and Money: This Struggle of Ours

  1. Great topic. Dean and I have been recently talking about this subject as we desire to move into retirement. It is a constant, to be lovers of God and not the things of this world. We are hopeful that we have enough monies to sustain our life without being a burden on our children or government and more than enough to give as we go through the last half of our lives. While we are not to love the things of the world I do think we need to take care of our financial situations. Money is only a tool that we use. We can use it for our own gratification or we can use it for His glory. In all things we honor Him. Poor stewardship is costly on so many fronts. I don’t know that we should let go of our money concerns as much as we should manage them, I think God intends for us to be good managers in everything. I would suggest if there are money concerns and issues one should seek help as they would on any other issue. Don’t have to go too far to see the damage we create when we love things over our God. And YES, let us seek His counsel, that we may be better stewards with what we are given.

    • Amy,

      Thank you for this great comment. Planning for retirement, financially and otherwise, and how we serve God needs more conversation in churches. I’m glad you mentioned stewardship and neither being a burden to our children or the government in retirement. We should never baptize poor stewardship in the language of “we’re not planning for future; rather we’re trusting in God to provide for the future” when we have mismanaged the ways in which God was providing for the future.

      In my sermon yesterday, I told the church that we can’t just quit our jobs and expect God to provide since God was providing for us through our jobs. I also said that we can’t live above our means and then blame God for the financial perils we find ourselves in, which is to say that we can’t blame God for poor stewardship on our part.

      Thank you for your comment. You and Dean have much wisdom to share on this subject because the two of you are generous people who have set an example of how to serve God rather than money.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

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