One Master, One Distraction

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Matthew 6:24-25
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Usually these two verses are separated into different themes when studying the bible, but as you can see, verse 25 is referring to verse 24. “We cannot serve God and wealth, so we shouldn’t be worried about our life.” This, of course, follows the realization that we cannot serve God and wealth, so we will choose to serve God. Serving God over wealth is the obvious and better choice. If we choose to serve God, then we will not have to worry about our life. Jesus says in Mark 8:

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus is talking about spiritual life and how it is more important than our physical life. He explains that our love of money, possessions, and “stuff” distracts us from worshipping Him. If we instead would focus wholeheartedly on Jesus, then there is no reason to worry about everything else in the physical realm because He will take care of that too. Too often, though, we worry about the physical first and completely forget about worshipping God with our lives because we work our entire lives ot earn money instead of stay connected with God. Paul encourages us in Romans 12:

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

In being “born again,” we are granted a new opportunity to live in the spiritual realm: in holy communion with God. If we allow our minds to be renewed by God’s new way of doing things, which is opposite of the world’s, then we will prove to ourselves and others God’s good and acceptable and perfect will. His will is for us to be united with Him with the totality of our lives. Jesus knew that money is what we are most apt to serve and become subject to in this life. Money makes things happen: it puts food on the table, rents us a house, gives us gas for our car, allows us to buy gifts for our loved ones, and clothes us. What Jesus is pointing out, however, is that if we would just draw near to God, He will provide all we need in the physical world. We will not be without need if we trust Him (i.e. have faith in Him).

Sure, we can get these things on our own, but if money is what drives us to do things, we start to become enslaved by it. Our main focus in life becomes having to earn money. Some people strive to earn money to gain riches and others just to support their family and the very poor to survive. This lesson doesn’t just apply to the wealthy or the “more fortunate,” but everyone. If our concern is about money, for whatever reason, we grow to love money and hate God. Yet Jesus is telling us there is a great solution!

If we focus on God, knowing He will provide all of our needs, then we get to live in the presence of God and we won’t have to worry about our material things; it’s the best of both worlds! There is a common verse in Psalm 46 that many people reference in regards to worry. Usually we refer to the phrase, “be still and know that I am God,” but it comes out of a wonderful passage that comforts us:

1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

The words “cease striving” here are in place of the commonly known “be still.” Both phrases mean to say that we need to stop trying to do it on our own and know that God is with us. In Psalm 46 God is encouraging Israel in the middle of war. We are to trust in His goodness, His provision, and His love for us in all things. In seeking money, we are taking the reigns of our lives into our own hands and constantly struggling to make it work. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad. But when it is bad, we are inundated with pressure to provide. Why not rely on the creator of the universe to provide? Wouldn’t that make more sense? As we let go, our stress reduces, our joy is made complete, and we get to learn more and more of God’s goodness. We become strengthened spiritually and taken care of physically. So why wouldn’t we choose to serve God over money?

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