I read once that a person spends about 80% of their time awake engaged with MONEY: earning it, spending it, and dreaming about it. And so while money is a tool for us to use, if we’re not careful, it’s easy to see how the “love of money” can grow to become an idolatrous force in our life.
Richard Foster wrote in his book, Money, Sex, and Power:
Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed.” If you’re enslaved by greed, you will not lead others with integrity.
He goes on to say that if we don’t learn how to control money, money has such a seductive element that it will control us. This marks the distinction between money and mammon. Money – when it controls us – becomes godlike and thus, mammon in our lives. And so, we have to ask the question:
Do you control money or does it control you?
Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 6:24 what he thinks about Mammon.
No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
But the idolatry of money is subtle and deceptive. We have to guard our hearts. Here are some questions I’ve learned from mentors and personal experiences that I shared last Sunday at Quest to help us re-focus how we as Christians can engage with money as a tool rather than a “god.” Like many of you, I struggle and constantly try and need to check my heart and stewardship.
Question: Do any of these questions “hit” you in the heart?
- Is it your money or God’s money? Are you the owner or steward of the money?
- Do you make decisions based on money or by seeking God’s guidance?
- Do you honestly believe that God can provide for you? Simply, do you trust God?
- Would you be willing to work for less money if you felt that God was leading you to a lower paying job?
- Do you constantly worry whether or not you will have enough money?
- Do you constantly fight over money with your spouse or family?
- Are you constantly envious of wealthier people?
- Do you give joyfully, faithfully, and sacrificially to the work of the Kingdom including your local church? Are you marked by generosity?
- Do you spend more than you earn, rely on credit cards or loans, and find yourself drowning in debt but with no plan?
- Are you a slave to the Upward Mobility mindset: You want more. You need more. You must have more. Repeat after me: Contentment.