Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Two Masters

Disclaimer: Writing this one made me just a little bit uncomfortable.

Jesus taught that people can’t have two masters and that we cannot serve both God and money. Most Christians would probably not say that they are serving money rather than God, but how accurate are we when we say that? I believe that most of us have our hearts in the right place—we aren’t actively out chasing the almighty dollar trying to get rich just for the sake of having more and more money, and we likely aren’t spending every dollar on frivolous material items that we don’t really need. We contribute to church and charity and help others who are in need whenever we can. But even though we do all this, are we fully serving God, or are we, in actuality, serving money?

Proverbs 22.7 tells us that just as the rich rule over the poor, so is the borrower servant to the lender. When we borrow money, for whatever reason, we become beholden to the person or institution who loaned us that money. As good Christians, we know that we are obligated to pay back that money, so we order our lives in such a way as to make sure that we can earn enough to pay a little each month on that loan. Some of us even take out insurance policies that will pay off the loan in the event that something happens and we can’t earn money. We are very prudent to not place our means of income in jeopardy.

I assert that because we are in debt, we are unable to fully serve God even if our hearts want to. Every time we make a big decision, we take into consideration how much money we owe and how much we are earning. Our debt level often makes it very difficult to follow where God’s spirit is leading us to serve. How many of us can immediately drop what we are doing to follow Jesus in the same way that we see his disciples do in the bible? Peter and Andrew and James and John left their fishing nets and followed Jesus at once when he called to them. Matthew immediately left his desk at the tax office to follow Jesus. How many of us can just get up and go wherever he leads on only a moment’s notice? How many of us can take a lower paying job that frees up time to serve him? How many times have we seen stories about people in need and wished we could go across the country and help, if only we didn’t have to take time off our job that pays the mortgage? I am not saying it is bad to be a homeowner, but if God calls us to physically relocate, most of us will have to ask him to wait a month so that we can sell the house and pack up the possessions. As much as we hate to admit it, our debt has caused many of us to serve money more than we serve God.

Jesus said that the cost of being his disciple is high and that we should make sure we know what that cost is before we begin the journey. Are we willing to pay that high price? Which is more costly—totally being his disciple or trying to serve two masters?


Tony Arnold said...

A wonderful, but uncomfortable post. And very timely me for me in a decision that I need to make. See--wisdom from your blog. I told you I get wisdom from your posts.


jettybetty said...

I truly try not to be a "stuff" person--but I know I have a long way to go.

You have given me some more things I need to mentally and spiritually digest. What you write about here is radical--and I know God has called us to be different from the world.

I will be getting back to you on this one!

Christopher Trottier said...

Divorcing God from what we think is God is also a great barrier in being a disciple.

JMG said...

Welcome Christopher! Interesting thought. Can you give an example to illustrate?

JMG said...

I'm glad I could challenge you, Tony. I know you'll make the best decision.

JB, I know what you mean--this is radical stuff, and I don't know how far I and my household are willing to go just yet, I'm sad to say. It's one thing to write about it, but it's another thing to actually do it. Scaling back seems like a step in the right direction, though. I'll (hopefully) be getting rid of some stuff in a neighborhood yard sale this weekend. That much less stuff to pack if God says move!

jettybetty said...

I love your servant heart!!! Please keep encouraging me!!

JMG said...

Well, my heart is in the right place, but my body is lagging behind!