MONEY – THE OVERFLOW OF THE HEART
Money! Strange, isn’t it, that Jesus spoke more about money and possessions and His disciples’ attitude to them than He did about the subjects we would have thought important to Him as His followers – “spiritual” things like faith and love and prayer. Why did He have so much to say about money? I think He had a pretty good idea about what drives the world and what controls the hearts of people, then as it does now. Perhaps the problem is not so much money as the love of money which, said Paul, is the root of all kinds of evil.
As disciples of Jesus, we need to have the correct attitude towards our money which arises, first of all from what is central in our lives; either our love-relationship to God as our Father and the trust that flows from that love, or our doubts and fears about Him which cause us to trust the money we can see rather than the God we can’t see. We become pre-occupied with the things that the pagans run after when we are unsure about our heavenly Father’s trustworthiness towards us as His children.
Consider this chiasm to which we have already referred:
A No one can serve two masters.
B Either he will hate the one and
C Love the other, or
C’ He will be devoted to one and
B’ Despise the other.
A’ You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matt. 6: 24).
Either money or God will occupy our affection – not both and. Jesus was adamant. It’s not primarily about who or what we serve. It’s about who or what we love. We cannot – it is impossible to – serve God and money.
Before we can consider the ramifications of our attitude towards money and the way we use it, we must get this one thing straight. Either we love God or we don’t. Either we trust Him as our heavenly Father or we don’t. There is no middle road. Our priority love for God or money will direct everything we do with the resources we have been given.
We also need to have the correct disposition. The part that money plays in our lives is determined by our basic disposition. The godless person is essentially selfish and self-serving. He does not recognise the goodness and grace of God in the world around him. He is self-absorbed and cannot see beyond the end of his nose. His eyes look inward, not outward and he concentrates only on his own wants and needs. In Hebrew thought, this was called “the evil eye” which was diagnosed by its attitude towards money and possessions.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt. 6: 22-23)
Jesus has rescued us from the dominion (control) of selfishness and greed (darkness) and transferred us into the realm of God’s rule which is generous and full of mercy (the kingdom of light – Col. 1: 13-14). He has given us a new disposition – “the eye of light”.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5: 17)
The ”eye of light” is able to see beyond its own needs to the needs of others. It recognises God’s goodness in its own life and participates in His goodness by sharing it with others. It understands that to give is the way to enter into the flow of God’s goodness. It builds and strengthens the disposition of light.
Jesus taught His disciples that God does not simply meet our needs when we ask Him. He has put in place a system which ensures that we show the world around us what He is like by being generous to others. God’s resources flow back to us when we use our resources to bless others.
Like our mouths, the way we handle our money is a mirror of our hearts.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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