“do you love me more than these?” John 21:15
The greatest adversaries of love for God are not his enemies, but his gifts. It is the reason we must be careful in choosing our priorities in life. It is so easy to get caught up in the blurred lines of chasing blessings at the expense of the benefactor, that before long, we realize we have gone so far away from God while running after his gifts. And nothing lures us into this trap like money.
I have long wondered why Jesus, in driving home his point of one man not being able to please two masters, used God and money as examples (Matthew 6:24). Why money? I believe Jesus used money because it is the one thing that can effectively force us into choosing exactly where our affections lay. In Matthew 19, Jesus puts a test to a young man who came inquiring about eternal life. Jesus subtly tells this young man to choose exactly where his affections lay. And because the young man was not willing to forsake all, he disqualified himself.
In the life of the Christian, there are legitimate desires and illegitimate indulgences. Money in itself is a legitimate desire, and the Bible is quick to tell us that it is the love of money that is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), not money itself.
We can find a man’s heart by following the trail of his money. Whether we possess much money or little, it is our attitude toward it that is revealing. There might be no moral quality in riches or poverty per se, but our attitude toward it is a test of true spirituality. Once you discover a person’s attitude towards money, you will learn a great deal about his or her character.
Every gift of God is a test of where our affections truly lay. Having money can be a great opportunity to serve and worship God, and it can be a trap that can be used to pierce oneself with many sorrows. The secret lay in our attitude towards money. We can hold money in our clenched fists and shake them at God, choosing to do whatever we want with our money. Or we could have our hands inverted over our money, with our fingers lightly touching, and be ready to do with our money as God directs. The latter is the right context of stewardship with respect to money, and can be an instrument of blessing in the life of the Christian.
God is a jealous God, and he’d come after anyone or anything that takes his place on the throne of our hearts. If you have replaced God with money in your life, know that God would have the final say. Do you need a heart check on money in your life?