““No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”Matthew 6:24 NKJV
This week in the message Turning the Tables Part 2 I talked about our financial priorities. One of the issues addressed in the message was the known tendency of African Americans to be influenced by name brands and luxury items. Simply put, sometimes our desire for luxury items and famous labels can lead us to make poor financial decisions more often than other races.
Let me say something here. It’s not wrong to have the finer things in life. So don’t go sell your Mercedes and trade it in for a bicycle. Having nice things isn’t the problem. Jesus told the congregation at the sermon on the mount, they couldn’t serve God and mammon (wealth and riches). He says they will either love the one and hate the other. How does that apply to our financial decisions?
It all boils down to the decisions we make in critical moments and opportunities.
Critical moments are the times when our finances are thin or have impeding obligations on them. Sometimes we’re enticed to make purchases in these lean financial times. If we’re ruled emotionally by our desires for luxury items, we will make ill-advised purchases. The end result is, we put ourselves in uncomfortable and unnecessary financial risk.
Opportunities are the times when we can use money as a tool to put ourselves in a better financial position. These are times when we’re stable, our money isn’t obligated, and/or we’re blessed with an unexpected increase. When these moments come in our lives some of us immediately begin to imagine the things we can buy with the extra money. Then we spend it just as quickly as we received it.
Both of these examples ended with decisions to serve our desire for riches. There is however another option; instead of serving riches, we could serve God with our riches. When we adopt a spiritual mentality that says “all that I am, and all that have belongs to God” our decisions are very different.
In critical times, we would pray and make the choice to take care of our obligations. By doing so we relieve our financial stress and have a more abundant quality of life. From this position of stability we are free to minister to others instead of creating new financial problems in our lives so others need to minister to us. In times of opportunity we would pray for the Lord’s guidance. He could lead us to invest in ourselves by saving the extra money to carry us through the lean times. We could pay down debt, get ahead on mortgage or car payments, or invest it in ministry.
We can’t serve God and riches, but putting God first and serving God with our riches can lead to an abundant life. Jesus said it best.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 NKJV