Faith & Inspiration
by Andrée Seu Peterson
Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 12:29 pm
“No one 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” (Matthew 6:24). (The original Greek for “money” is mamona, a word of Aramaic origin variously translated “riches,” “wealth,” or “money.”)
I never cared much for that verse. I thought it poorly stated. I begged to differ with Jesus that there are only two main classifications of people in the world: those enslaved to wealth and those enslaved to God. I never read the finance section of the papers. I wouldn’t know an IRA from the TVA. I suggested that the verse would read better as, “No one can serve God and idols.” That would cover people like myself who don’t have a problem with money-obsession but who may have other life-dominating sins. If truth be told, I have always felt a mild disdain for people who would harbor such a crass and unsophisticated idol as the dollar.
Upon more recent reflection I find that Jesus was right and I was wrong about myself. The product of a little soul searching (2 Corinthians 13:5 recommends this regular spiritual hygiene) has produced the alarming realization that the tentacles of money-worry are planted deep into most of my actions, choices, decisions, and the very color my day.
Once you realize how money-preoccupation steers your life—that there are places you go or don’t go, things you do or don’t do, arguments you have or don’t have, emotional peaks and valleys you experience or don’t experience, and relationships you strain or don’t strain, all because of money or the fear of losing it—then you understand the perspicacity of Jesus’ statement “You cannot serve God and money.” Then you know the truth of the Teacher’s statement that “All the toil of man is for his mouth” (Ecclesiastes 6:7).
“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10), and I am discovering the many kinds: behavioral, relational, emotional, and attitudinal. It is pervasive. If generosity of spirit is present when money security is empirically high, and crankiness is present when money security is low, you have a problem. Admit that you have moved from faith in God to faith in money. You have caught yourself loving “the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).
The first step is to see it is a problem. The second is to move back to your place of trust, the only real security: your solid Rock.
Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.