Monday, January 18, 2010

God and money.

burning money

No servant 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.

Luke 16:13

Divided loyalties will not advance the kingdom of God. Jesus makes it clear that a commitment to a life serving God cannot also be a life committed to an agenda of worldly wealth. The two are incompatible. Jesus is not saying that money is evil. If you look into the context, it is clear that He is talking about the attitude we have toward material things. We must see them as resources for a higher goal and end.

He begins with our motivations, letting us in on an important big picture truth… money is often used in this world to gain status and security. The parable of the dishonest steward (Luke 16:1-9) has a central theme: money is often used to gain intangible results. If that is the case in worldly pursuits, why not manage it toward the ultimate leverage: eternal impact and reward?

Principles of wise “eternal” investment are then explained by Jesus (Luke 16:9-13). He expects His followers to find this appealing. And He expects us to seek reward not from a dividend alone, but from the God Who gives us all we have to utilize for His glory.

The Pharisees mock Jesus for teaching these values (Luke 16:14-18). Their motive was selfish in all relationships and responsibilities. They were moved by the love of money. Jesus calls their materialistic motivation an abomination in the sight of God. He does not mince words. He cannot see materialism leading to obedience to God. Those who serve money as their life’s worship are not able to worship God as evidenced by the Pharisee’s inability to receive or believe this truth. They are in conflict with His eternal kingdom. And that cannot end in eternal life for them.

That leads to the most difficult part of the teaching in Luke 16. Jesus tells the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) to make one essential and brutally clear point: all the money in the world will not buy your soul out of hell. God will not barter with either bankers or borrowers in eternity. It is of no interest to Him what you had. It is of all the interest to Him what you did for Him with what you had. He gave it to you. In the end, it is better to be a beggar in heaven than a billionaire in hell.

No comments: