A devotional thought from Marty Duren for “Christian Care”
With the great economic woes of 2008 came the nearly unbelievable revelation of American indebtedness. Households owed tens of thousands of dollars each in consumer debt. Homes were foreclosed by the millions because of income overextension. Even now student loan debt threatens to enslave an entire generation of college graduates.
During this time, many thousands of households have been rudely reminded of one half of P. T. Barnum’s famous quote: “Money is a terrible master.” Sadly even many followers of Jesus fell into the money trap.
The second half of Barnum’s maxim is startlingly biblical: “But [money] is an excellent servant.” At its very best, money and possessions are a means of demonstrating God’s kingdom in this life.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous money so that when it fails, they may welcome you into eternal dwellings” (16:9). This means money is a servant to be used in making friends, which is a kingdom endeavor. After this life, these friends—the ones money helped make—will be the ones to welcome us into our eternal home.
How? Because money is used to meet needs, to buy groceries in times of job loss, to assist with a utility bill, to buy a chocolate bar from that kid down the street who is in the school band. In these instances, and many more, money is a servant that furthers relationships—relationships that form bridges across which the gospel can travel.
When money is our master, we prioritize our lives around what money can buy, where it can take us, or how much of it we can accumulate. We live our lives 180 degrees from what is important to God. We lay up for ourselves temporary, earthly treasures. When money is a kingdom servant, however, our spending and saving, indeed our very heart, is oriented around God’s plans and purposes. Without this direction we will always find ourselves subservient to that which should serve us.
Pause and Reflect
• Why does it seem so hard to trust God when finances are concerned?
• Can you think of some ways money and possessions have been your master instead of your servant?
• Think of some specific ways you can use money this week to help someone who is in need.