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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
(Part 8)

TRUSTING IN GOD AND NOT MAMMON


June 18, 2011
Today’s reading: Matthew 6:24-34

Money can become a god in our life that demands utmost attention from us. Money can become a master that enslaves us and dictates on us. Money can become an oppressor that makes us anxious and lacking in peace. Despite these, money is highly sought by many, even idolized.

But there is only one true God whom we worship and serve. Despite this, many Christians look to both. Now Jesus says, you cannot do that, because money is a demanding taskmaster. “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24).

Thus a Christian is warned. Be very careful how you look at and handle money (or wealth or property). It can easily take the place of God.

But Christians say that they need money for their human and material needs. Jesus recognizes that, but warns against being overly anxious for needs, thus becoming enslaved to a desire for money.

Jesus says that God takes care of the birds in the sky, and if so, how much more will God also take care of them. Jesus says that God clothes the grass in the field with the splendor of Solomon’s garments, so how much more will God also provide for them. Jesus tags people who worry as “you of little faith” (Mt 6:30d). In fact, if we worry, then we not only have little faith, but we would be acting as pagans. “All these things the pagans seek.” (Mt 6:32a). The difference for us, as Christians, is that “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Mt 6:32b), and He will provide.

Now while God is committed to provide for His people, it does not come just like that. We still have our part to play. What is the premise for being able to rely on God’s provision? We need to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33a). We need to be a people of faith. We need to live out our covenant, such that God’s covenant promises can be fulfilled. We need to know what is first and foremost, and that is to love God with our whole being. We need to walk with God on the path of holiness. Then “all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33b).

Part of seeking first the kingdom of God is our work of evangelization and mission. It is the work of proclaiming the gospel, of expanding the kingdom of God, of bringing souls into God’s dominion. Now, with God committed to provide for our needs, we in turn must provide for His needs. We are to bring the tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in God’s house. Just as we are dependent upon God for our needs, God has made Himself dependent upon us for His needs--that of money for the mission.

Financial stewardship is an integral part of seeking first the kingdom of God.

Still unconvinced? Turn to God’s word.
Where will I get food for tomorrow (or my child’s tuition for next week; or our house rent for next month)? “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Mt 6:34a).
Will we have enough food to eat? “Look at the birds in the sky” (Mt 6:26a).
How about our clothes to wear? “Learn from the way the wild flowers grow” (Mt 6:28b).
Can I really afford to tithe? “All these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33b).
To some, such answers might seem to trivialize the concerns. But God is not about giving a detailed roadmap for how He will provide. He is simply saying, “I am God, you are my people, and I will provide for you. Trust me.” God does not tell us to be irresponsible. We do have to do our part. But what He does tell us is that He loves us, He has a covenant with us, and He is committed to care for us.

Let us then trust not in mammon but only in God. And while we do make use of, and even enjoy, money and possessions, let us not allow mammon to rule our lives. Only God rules, and we are truly blessed because of that.

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