Everything about our 21st Century culture revolves around getting our own way. We like our food prepared a certain way. We like particular options on our cars. We like specific types of music or movies or books. In the last 30 or so years, we’ve grown up expecting that people will cater to our whims. That’s customer service. If I want a skinny decaf no foam latte, I order one, and that’s what I expect to get. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Well, there’s nothing wrong it until what we want contradicts what God says is right. Then, we have a choice. Because in the choice between two paths, you can only choose one. You can’t walk down the middle.
Today’s verse is Matthew 6:24.
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
This is one verse out of a much larger passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34), and if you’ve got time I really recommend reading the whole thing. This is one of those concepts in Scripture that gets really twisted around, I think. There are some who look at wealth and money as though it’s something evil, and that’s just not the case. Money becomes evil when it becomes more important in your life than God.
When you place the acquisition of food or clothing or status higher than your desire to walk with God, you have a problem, because you’re walking down the road that will take you away from God. You can walk with God and have money and resources, but you can’t walk with God and love money and resources more than you love Him. That doesn’t work out so well.
Jesus was devoted to one path. It was the same road He started walking when He learned how to walk, and it was the same road that led Him to the cross to die to pay for our entry into heaven.
Staying on one path is hard, especially when there is so much of the world to see, but once you step off that narrow road, there aren’t always guideposts to get you back to it. It’s like taking a poorly planned detour. In some parts of the country, a detour winds through pretty residential areas, but most of the ones I’ve been on are desert-like and time-consuming and irritating. That’s what stepping off the path gets you–confused and frustrated. And you only have yourself to blame.
It’s tempting to want to live our lives the way we want to live them, but if you are a Christ-follower, your life doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to Jesus. And you simply can’t follow Jesus when you’re only focusing on doing whatever it will take to get more money. And, believe me, I know how important money is. You can sit and be as holy and spiritual as you want, but if you don’t have money, you can’t eat. This has become even more obvious to me since I started working for myself. Money is hard to get.
What’s even harder is trusting that God will provide. But that’s what this entire passage is about. You can serve money and scrimp and save and fret and stress out for your entire life to scrape a few pennies together that might last a few years. Or you can just chill and do what God says to do today and trust that when you need something, God will provide it for you.
Maybe that sounds naive. But I’m not the one asking the questions. Jesus is staring back at me in this passage asking me why I have so little faith.
So stop fretting. Stop chasing dollar bills. Instead, put God’s priorities first in your life and trust that He’ll provide when you need it.
Jesus walked one path. That’s the direction He went. And if we say we’re His followers, we probably ought to follow. Don’t you think?