Money as Servant or Master
Text: Luke 16:1-13| Listen to Message
Master Your Money or It Will Master You
Jesus famously stated that “no one can serve two masters … you cannot serve both God and money.”
Philip Graham Ryken notes:
“We would prefer to do the very thing Jesus tells us we cannot do: serve God and money. If only we could serve God with some of our money and then serve ourselves with the rest of it. Better yet, if only we could use most of it for ourselves and then give God whatever is left! But Jesus says we have to choose.” (Reformed Expository Commentary: Luke, Vol. 2, p. 178)
Ryken is spot on with his observation – and yet notice how he subtly changes the force of what Jesus said. Jesus warned against serving money, not against serving ourselves with money. It’s not that Ryken is wrong: the fact is we do serve ourselves with how we acquire, spend, and invest money. But Jesus’ statement points out something far more sinister: when we’re using money to serve ourselves, we’ve actually become the servants and it has control over us.
That sounds weird, doesn’t it? How can an inanimate object be our master? But think about it for a moment. Think about all the ways we obsess over money, allowing it to control our emotions, thoughts, and will:
- We’re excessively worried and anxious over our finances.
- We’re excessively critical and complaining.
- We’re excessively jealous of what others have.
- We’re excessively greedy, even to the point of stealing from others.
- We’re excessively stingy and tightfisted.
- We’re excessively materialistic consumers.
- We’re excessively manipulative, using money to get what we want from people.
- We’re excessively proud, boasting in our wealth or generosity.
- We’re excessively flamboyant, flaunting what we have.
- We’re excessively depressed about what we don’t have and can’t afford.
These are all ways that money potentially controls us. Hopefully you see the point: when we use money to serve our self-interests, it quickly becomes our functional lord and savior. We look to it to rescue us and to give us a greater sense of self-worth and significance. We look to it to calm our fears and give us a sense of identity. We look to it to satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. And when it lets us down, we are despondent.
Jesus says there’s a much better way to live. Rather than letting money control you, let him be your Master and Savior. Discover that your true, un-fluctuating worth comes from knowing you’re a child of God – and that you have an infinite, imperishable inheritance waiting in heaven for you – because of the grace and generosity of Christ.
In light of this Good News, you are free: free to use money as a tool to serve your true Master, Jesus – especially by investing in bringing others to him.