“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.”
- 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.
- 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."
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Is it a practice of mine to view all I have as God’s?
- Is it a practice of mine to prayerfully consider how I invest God’s resources?
- 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).
- 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.