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No Person Can Serve Both God and Money

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Have you ever known a person who has suffered a financial loss with a shrug and says, "Here today, gone tomorrow," or "Easy come, easy go”? Those folks may be living closer to the truth than we realize. After telling a parable in the first portion of this chapter, Jesus gives some explicit teaching as to how His disciples are to live. You can’t serve both God and money. At the beginning of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby, a very wealthy couple, Daisy and Tom are described in this manner: "They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together." By the end of the book, after the husband of Tom's mistress has shot Gatsby and then committed suicide, the narrator explains: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess.”

  1. Serving wealth instead of God creates many messes in life.
    “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil: and those longing for wealth… have pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Tim. 6:10). The Word of God gives us a clear sense of these griefs.
    1. The grief of not living… (Luke 8:14). In the parable of the sower, Jesus says people who hear the Word of God, but are caught up in a desire for riches are like seeds thrown onto thorny ground – “they are choked by the cares, riches, and pleasures of life."
    2. The grief of not resting… (Luke 12:29-34). Jesus said, "Do not be of anxious mind (about material things) … but provide for yourselves treasure in the heavens (relationships) where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
    3. The grief of not seeing… (Luke 16:19-23). "There was a certain rich man who fared well… but died and was buried. And in hell, he lifted up his eyes…" Riches have a way of blinding a person.
  2. Serving God means wealth becomes the means for His purpose for my life.
    “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of your wealth, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Your wealth can’t get you to heaven, but it can definitely keep you out of heaven. You can’t serve both God in this life and your wealth.
  3. As a follower of Christ, I am to use my wealth to serve God and His people.
    We are a steward of God. A servant of Christ. A steward takes in with one hand and distributes with the other according to his master’s will (Matt. 6:19-21, 33). The proper use of our earthly goods, from the proper motives, is an evidence of God’s grace in us.
    1. Is it a practice of mine to view all I have as God’s?
    2. Is it a practice of mine to prayerfully consider how I invest God’s resources?
    3. Is it a practice of mine to respond quickly and generously as the Spirit prompts me?
      “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future” (I Tim. 6:17-19).
  4. The starting place for serving God and not wealth is in the small things.
    “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). Start with the small and be content with it.
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Jonah - God Pursues His Own

Background

The book of Jonah is different from the other minor prophetical books because it is about the life of the prophet instead of a series of prophecies or visions from the prophet. The one thing similar to the other eleven minor prophets is the opening line of the book - “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai, saying ...” (Jonah 1:1). The difference is Jonah ran from God and refused to fulfill his calling.

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Where Is Your Faith?

Luke 8:22-25 (NASB)

Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

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The Kiss of Hypocrisy

Genesis 31:27-28, 55 (KJV)

Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away form me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, and with tabret, and with harp? And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them; and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

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The Word of Victory

John 19:30-35 (KJV)

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldier, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

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My True Love Gives

John 3:16 (NASB)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB)

The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."

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