Money; Your Master or Servant? – Delight Yourself in the Lord
What is money?
According to Wikipedia; Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and payment of debts within a market, or which is legal tender within a country.
There are 180 current currencies across the world as recognized by the United Nations. The British pound is the world oldest currency that is still in use, dating back in the 8th century.
Dr. Roger Henderson, a mental-health researcher in the UK, recently coined the term “money sickness syndrome” to designate the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by people who are stressed by money worries. The symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, skin rashes, lack of appetite, unjustified anger, nervousness and negative thinking. “Money worries are significant causes of stress”– Henderson.
According to Henderson, money woes are also common in times of abundance. During times of financial prosperity, many people are plagued by money worries. Recently a South African newspaper carried an article that reported that “a creeping social disease of overconsumption, commercialism and rampant materialism was spreading in Africa.” They said some of the symptoms of this “disease” includes: stress, debt, waste, overwork, feelings of deprivation, envy and depression. Money was blamed for the ongoing deterioration of the quality of life in Africa.
In 2007 India underwent a period of outstanding economic growth. It was reported that during this period as well, India fast forwarded to a new level of “conspicuous consumption”. Yet, at that time, officials there were afraid that India’s prosperity would result in unrest and even violence.
In the same period too, a new generation of young adults in the US were displaying a propensity for splurging on luxury items. However, their spending power was not bringing them happiness. Researchers have stated that affluence was one of the principal causes of alcoholism, depression and suicide. Some studies in the US have revealed that despite the abundance and wealth, “fewer than one in three Americans” claimed to be “very happy.”
Jesus teaches about money
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break and steal. But store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break-in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“The eye is the lamp of the body, if your eyes are good, your full 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!”
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Four Spiritual lessons:
- Spiritual Caution: Jesus was cautioning about having the wrong treasures as our priority. He taught that having the wrong treasurers leads to our hearts being in the wrong place. Science is only authenticating what Jesus already taught us.
- Spiritual Control: What we treasure controls us, whether we admit or not. If possessions or money become too important to us, we must ask the Holy Spirit to re-establish control in us or get rid of items. Jesus is calling for a decision that allows us to live in contentment with whatever we have because we have chosen eternal values as more important over temporary, earthly treasures.
1 John 2:15-17
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
- Spiritual vision: It is our capacity to see clearly what our God wants us to do and see the world from His point of view. But spiritual insight can be clouded by self-serving desires, interests and goals that block that vision. Serving God and remaining faithful to Him despite what we have or do not have is the best way to restore our vision. A good eye is the one that is fixed on God.
- Spiritual Master: Jesus says we have only one master. Our society has become materialistic and many people serve money. They spend their time collecting it and storing it only to die and leave it behind. Their desire for money and what it can buy far outweighs their commitment to God and spiritual matters.
Whatever you store up you will spend most of your time and energy thinking about it. Do not fall into this materialistic trap. 1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root for all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” It cost Ananias and Sapphira their lives. Can you say honestly say God and not money is your master? Take this one test “What occupies your thoughts, time, energy and efforts most?
Jesus said in Math 6: 33 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” We want everything the world has to offer, and then we will seek God later. Friends, that is not how it works! You cannot seek God second or third or tenth and expect God to give you the desires of your heart.
What is your attitude towards money and wealth? How does the volatile nature of the world’s economy affect you? Is money your master or your servant? Perhaps you do not experience the symptoms of the so-called money sickness syndrome. Still whether wealthy or poor, we are all vulnerable to the ill effects of money worries. Consider how you handle your finances, it may bring you more peace of mind and a happier life in God.
Money may be your master if…
- You avoid discussing finances because of the anxiety it causes
- Money is often the source of family squabbles
- You spend compulsively
- You worry constantly about bills
- You are not sure how much you earn
- You are not sure how much you spend
- You are not sure how much you owe
- Your bills are bigger than what you expect
- You often pay your bills late
- You are only able to pay the minimum payments on your credit card bills
- You pay your bills with money earmarked for other things
- You take on extra work just to pay bills
- You have taken on new loans to pay off old ones
- You use your savings to pay routine bills
- You find it nearly impossible to get to the end of the month without running out of money
- You fill pressure to accumulate large sums of money
- You suffer physical and/or psychological symptoms resulting to money-related stress.
Rev. Julius Wainaina