When Money is Master

Perhaps there is no better barometer of our relationship with God than our interaction with money. Money—the time and the means we use to acquire it, and what we do with it after we acquire it—reveals much about our spiritual lives. Money, when we possess it and even when we possess none, fuels temptation perhaps like nothing else. Money can easily stand in utter contempt of the two greatest commandments, as it can become a god above the only God, and it can entice us to love ourselves more and our neighbors less. On the other hand, money can be used as a means to prove our love for God and our neighbors.

Jesus once told a parable about a man who allowed money to rule him rather than God:

The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.'” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared? “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:16-21).

Jesus portrayed this wealthy man as being very foolish. Although blessed with health, productive land and farming skills, he didn’t know God, otherwise he would not have stored up his excess and retired to a life of selfish pleasure and ease. Rather, he would have sought the Lord regarding what he should do with his blessing, knowing that he was but God’s steward. God, of course, would have wanted him to share his abundance and continue working so he could continue to share his abundance. Perhaps the only other acceptable alternative would have been to stop farming and devote himself to some self-supporting ministry, if that is what God called him to do.

The wealthy farmer in Jesus’ parable made a major miscalculation regarding the date of his death. He assumed he had many years remaining, when he was just hours away from eternity. Jesus’ point is unmistakable: We should live each day as if it was our last, always ready to stand before God to give an account.