Money is an interesting commodity.
It’s amazing how much power a small green piece of paper has over our lives. The power of acquiring new things and providing for our well-being is essential to security in life. The power of being able to walk into a store, see something we want, and leave the store with the item by simply laying down a piece of green paper is priceless sometimes. Or beyond just purchasing items, the power to insure a stable future through a retirement fund or insurance premiums can be essential for feeling secure. Yet, when does the power of the almighty dollar become more than just a means to making life easier, but instead the object that is responsible for our hope in the future?
Money is not inherently wrong. Having insurance, and planning for retirement is not wrong. It’s actually wise stewardship of our resources. Saving some money now so that we don’t have to work hard our entire lives is very smart. Putting money away during years in which you make more money to help offset the unexpected bills at later times is a wise choice. This is good financial planning, and something that we would encourage everyone to follow. But the question becomes; where is our trust? Where is our security? Can I face the future secure because I have faith that God will always provide for me, Or do I face the future secure because I’ve been disciplined enough to save money for my retirement fund. Am I secure because I have that nest egg waiting for me when I need it, or am I secure because I trust God above all things?
The answer to these questions gets dicey because sometimes it’s hard to determine where exactly I’ve placed my trust. Who am I really trusting to take care of me? It begins by thinking if I only had a little more money, and before we know it, our security has been placed in a false god.
In Matthew 6, Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus is actually saying this in the midst of the sermon on the mount, his manifesto on what does it mean to live as Kingdom people, and one of his important points is that our focus must always be on God. God alone is the source of our lives, and our security. Jesus addresses our possessions specifically, because our possessions have a way of becoming most important in our lives. Why do you store up treasures on earth where they will simply fade away or fall apart. Or for us, why is our focus so often on how much we make in our paycheck? Why do we pick careers based off of the standard of living we’ll be able to keep? Why do we somehow think we will be happier, or our lives will have more meaning, if we just had more money, possessions, or things?
Where our focus is matters. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be healthy, but if your eye is unhealthy, you will be full of darkness. Or in other words, focus matters. If our focus is on God, then our lives will be consumed with the light. We may not have money or possessions, but we’ll have what really matters: joy, peace, friendships, true happiness, and contentment. However, if our focus is on money, we’ll never have enough.Because there is always one more dollar to earn, one new gadget to buy, and one more way to make life easier. How much money does it really take to feel secure? How much money does it really take to be happy? How much money does it really take to ensure life will be good?
Ultimately this is a battle for our souls, in whom do we trust. We can’t serve God and money. Only one can be on the throne, so who’s in charge.
It’s interesting, the way we use money these days is different from years past. There was a time, and some people still do this, where most items were purchased with cash. However, now everything is automated. Debit cards are used at stores and many bills are paid online. Most of us never even see our money because it’s directly deposited into our accounts and then paid through card transactions. But there’s a phrase that is still on every piece of currency in our country, in God we trust. Never, has there been a more truer statement. We definitely have a god we trust in, the only question is which god. The little green pieces of paper that provide so much power are clearly a god. They offer security and peace of mind. They offer to buy whatever our hearts desire or will meet our needs. Money is clearly a god, the only question is, have we bowed our lives to the true God or the fake one. In which God do we trust? We cannot serve both Yahweh God and money.