“You Cannot Serve God and Money” … Jesus

I say it sadly… I have friends – Christian friends – who are more personally preoccupied with money, investments, and possessions then they ought to be… No names!!! In fact, there are times when I’m more enamored with the “stuff” of this life then I ought to be!!!

This morning I read a passage that the Holy Spirit used to confront me on that subject… and He brought to mind those friends I care so much about that I referred to as well.

The passage? The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 and verse 24. It was the passage from the Gospels for today in the “Necessary Food” Bible reading plan (Matthew 6:19-24). I’m so glad the Holy Spirit used it to confront me (and “concern me” about those I care about)!

This is what Jesus warned His followers about… “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal! Instead lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… No one can serve two masters! 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!”

A key issue for Christians – and by that, I mean “devoted, obedient, followers of Jesus” – is what they do with their money. Where and how do they invest? What are their priorities? How secure are their investments? What occupies their attention, their concern, their time – the cause of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the needs of others… or their own personal profit, their benefit, their “stuff?”

Don’t get me wrong, I want to wisely use principles and procedures for the management of resources God has entrusted to me – in other words I want to be a “wise steward! I do not want to waste resources in poor investments or on self-centered living. Instead, I want to prioritize the “cause of Christ” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” in any investment strategy.

I want this principle (and promise) to guide me (…just a few verses later) – I want to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (i.e. other things – essential “earthly” things) will be added to you!” (Matthew 6:33) We have His word on it!

It’s More Than Your Story…. It’s God’s Story Too!

I was watching an adventure movie at home with Sharon, my wife.  Things were not going well for the main character!  Danger at every turn, enemies that seemed bent on his destruction, one problem and adversary after another, accidents, attacks, and frustrating events piling up until there seemed little hope of survival! … Would he make it?  Would the main character prevail?  You could almost feel the despair as you identified with the plot of the story as it played itself out!  Finally, Sharon uttered what we both were feeling… “No!”  she said,  “They’re going to get him!  How can he make it!?” … And then we remembered – whoever wrote the script for the movie had planned for the main character to prevail!  It would all turn out in the end!

Well, this morning I read the Holy Spirit’s inspired script describing a Divine plot!  It involves all of us who are followers of Jesus!  It involves the attacks and evil strategies of an adversary called Satan… It includes the challenges we all face from temptation and evil inner inclinations… Suffering, frustration, weakness, and even failures are all in the plot… How will it all turn out for us who are following Jesus?  How will it turn out?! …

Here’s what the Bible says…

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

“For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, He called them to come to Himself. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He also gave them His glory! 

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?!  Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself!  Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us [or appealing to God on our behalf]!  Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

“Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love!  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord!”  (From Romans 8:28–39 NLT)

Whew!  It doesn’t matter how bad, how frightening, how terrible it seems right now… The Bible tells me how the Divine script writer has planned for it all to turn out!  And nothing… that’s right NOTHING… can keep it from turning out according to His plan… He makes everything turn out for good! … Nothing can separate us from His love!  Take heart, it’s going to turn out alright!  He’s planned it that way!  Praise the Lord!!!

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