"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." --Matthew 6:24
I have been learning lately that being a missionary does not mean that wealth will no longer be a idol in my life. It is easy to allow myself to think that I am giving up the pleasures of the world because Jamie and I are not buying a house and settling down. Since we are going across seas to serve our Lord it is easy to allow ourselves to apply verses like Matthew 6:24 to others. Yet lately God has shown me, “No Mark, this is for you.”
You don’t have to have a lot to still have wealth as your master. That is something I never realized. I always thought not having a lot meant that I wasn’t serving wealth. However, I would allow my mind to wander. I would see all the financial security commercials and hope that I might be able to save up enough to retire and buy a house someday. I would tell myself it would be a small house so therefore it would be okay.
This week God opened my eyes to the fact that I have joined many other American Christians in replacing Jesus’ words for worldly wisdom. I have always been told, “It is wise to save.” But what does Jesus say on the matter?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” --Matthew 6:19-21
How can saving not be wise? It seems so contrary to everything we know! It isn’t the saving; it is why we save in our culture. Just watch a commercial on investing and see all their catch lines promising “financial security.” God has been showing me that I have been longing for financial security, but I can only find security in one thing: either God or money. Many times I have been unwilling to give more to God's work because I needed to "wisely" store up for the future or an emergency. What does Jesus have to say about storing up for the future?
"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God." --Luke 12:15-21
What is your security in? Are you storing up things for yourself or being rich in giving to God's kingdom work?