I’m trying out the whole “life” thing, and there is way too much to worry about! I see as shining examples men both rich and poor for whom money seems to make their life go ‘round. The fortunes of the moment determine their mood, decisions, and relationships.
I’d really rather not have their life, if possible.
But is it possible?
Money does seem to be somewhat important for daily necessities. No need for a concordance here; one of the more famous passages of Scripture comes to mind.
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)?”
There it is in red and white. I can quote this verse at all the money-mongers and live a carefree life. Problem solved!
Not quite. The first word is “therefore,” meaning this is the conclusion of a line of reasoning, and I’ve jumped to the end before reading the beginning. So what do the previous verses say?
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24 NKJV).”
Okay, that paints verse 25 in a bit of a different light. “Do not worry” isn’t just a helpful suggestion for healthy living or a free pass to condone a lifestyle. If I allow money to have mastery of me, it will not only keep me from serving God but also cause me to hate and despise Him. To be disloyal to Him. The way to avoid such a scenario? “Do not worry.”
But the passage does not stop there.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith (Matthew 6: 28-30 NKJV).”
God doesn’t belittle our need for food and clothing. On the contrary, He sees the need and promises to provide for His creation. Even the smallest of them. But if I am not seeking after the necessities of life, what am I doing?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:33,34 NKJV).”
The Old Testament gives similar advice, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:9).” Do life by this book, and the results might be surprising. In searching further, I find Proverbs chapter 3. Verses 5 and 6 are the most famous, but the chapter holds much more than that.
For instance, verse 9 says,
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Tithing! Ten percent! Who’d have thought? Now I don’t have a barn, nor do I own vats, but “filled” and “overflow” means that I will have all I need for life and a whole lot more. But it is a warning as much as a blessing. What happens if I do not honor God with my possessions? There are other verses which answer that, but Matthew 6:24 echoes this warning nicely, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Honoring God with my increase, giving Him 10 percent of my earnings, lets me know beyond any doubt that I am seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
Money cannot have mastery of me when I commit it to God first before everything else.
There’s no other life I’d rather live.