Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Putting the Kingdom first

When anyone addresses the words of Jesus concerning money, there is always the same answer given.

Jesus said:

  • "Sell your possessions and give to the poor." (Luke 12:33)
  • "You cannot serve God and Money." (Matthew 6:24)
  • "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19)
  • "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:25)

And the answer is, "God wants us to put HIM first!" That is, Jesus only meant we cannot love money more than we love God.

Of course Jesus didn't say, "You can serve two masters, so long as you only work for one of them on the evenings." He said, "You cannot serve two masters."

But what exactly does that mean? How does one tell if they're serving God or money?

Maybe you can see how much time you spend at work earning money and compare it with the time you spend working for the Kingdom of God. Maybe you can compare how much money you spend on yourself with how much you spend on the poor.

They will use this answer to weasel out of what Jesus plainly says, and then still fail to live up to their own definition.

If you have money and you aren't supporting orphans and widows with it, you are serving money, not God. (James 1:27) If you own anything and do not use it to help those in need, you are serving money, not God. (1 John 3:17)

We live in a society that is the wealthiest society to ever exist throughout time. We don't need most of the stuff we have, yet we keep moving the goalposts to include our luxuries under what is acceptable to God. Having two cars is more important than having one, and providing for a family in need. Having a home office is more important than using the dining room table in a smaller home and using the excess to provide housing for the homeless. Having a cappuccino maker is more important than providing water for a village without it.

We pat ourselves on the back thinking we're good because we tithe to the local church (to pay the pastor's salary), even give extra to a few charities, and even help out at the shelter during the holidays, while the poor continue to struggle. The hungry continue to hunger. The thirsty continue to thirst. The homeless remain on the streets.

We tell ourselves we don't love money, but we spend thousands on fertilization treatments when there are thousands of orphans available for adoption.

We wish we could give more, yet we spend excessively on creature comforts and entertainment.

No comments: