In my previous Jesus on Minimalism post, I warned you we’d be kicking it up a notch with Jesus’ teachings on money. Today’s thought—once again taken from Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount—is short and simple.
“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.” (6:24)
God or money. The choice is yours. Are you going to pursue love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, or are you willing to embrace the rivalry, fear, anxiety, lack of restraint, spitefulness, vileness, fraud, forcefulness, and impulsivity that follows money?
“I can handle it,” you think. But don’t you see the actions of men and women in finance, in government, in the judicial system, in business, in failing marriages—throughout every institution in the world and through all of history? Nearly every single scandal in all of human history can be pinned on money.
No one goes into nonprofit work thinking, “I’m going to embezzle funds from this charity.” Instead, they’re seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars change hands, day in and day out, then, after maybe experiencing some hardship, the incentive to take a little off the top significantly increases.
“But some people are both godly and wealthy—what about the good people who are rich?” I can hear you protest. I agree and I know a few of them—good people who are also wealthy. There are people who use their wealth as a ministry to help people and that’s a wonderful thing. I think wealth is a calling and with it comes tremendous temptation that I know I couldn’t handle.
Have you ever had a job where you had two bosses? One manager tells you, do it this way. The other manager tells you, I want it that way. Tell me why-ee. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know that it’s so easy to love one boss and despise the other.
Jesus tells us that money can be another boss, or another master, over us. The pursuit of wealth, the preservation of wealth, the growth of wealth—even if you’re handling it well, it’s still an overwhelmingly time-consuming endeavor, arresting your attention and eating into hours in your day.
So what’s the answer? We’ll see the answer in my next Jesus on Minimalism post, the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Read Matthew 6:25-34 for a sneak peek.