Friday, February 03, 2006

Money, Money, Money, Money

"You cannot serve God and money." That is part of my text for this week. I came across a study that I will use Sunday that says the average person spends 80% of his/her waking hours either 1. making money, 2. spending money, 3. worrying about money. That would mean that if a person is awake for 16 hours, nearly 13 of them are focused on money.

We would like to think that Jesus' words about materialism are directed toward others. Forgive me if this is too much of a generalization, but I think anyone living in America must make a conscious effort not to be materialistic. It may be the strongest pull that our culture has upon us.

Notice: Jesus didn't say, "You should not serve God and money." He didn't say, "Serving God and money will be really hard." He said, "You cannot serve God and money." Cannot! No way.

Coming back to the Sermon on the Mount has reoriented me once again to those things that are important to living in the Kingdom. It's a constant challenge. Our culture so subtly pulls us back into its kingdom expectations. But Jesus makes it crystal clear. There can be no mixed loyalties.


Liz Moore said...

I couldn't agree with you more. In our culture we have so much, I think we have forgotten what it means to be content with what we have. If we put our focus on God and trust only in Him, He will take care of all our true needs. Molly Keener once told us something she learned through counseling while going through some of her struggles. "All we Need is Jesus, Everything else is want."

It looks like it will be March before we're able to make it out there to visit with you and Beverly. I can't wait to finally get to "hear" one of your sermons again! Blessings!

Josh Ross said...

Liz Moore is awesome.

Good post today. I read in the USA Today a few weeks ago, that the average American only gives 2% per $1000. WOW!!! Studies have shown that the nation of America is the wealthiest nation in the world, but dead last when it comes to giving (percentage).
We want our children safe--so we live in gated communities.
We want our children safe--so we place them in schools away from those that are "the least of these" described by Jesus.
But how many Christian parents let their children go the mall any time that they want, only to be drawn into materialism and greed?
How many times are credit cards handed to teenagers for them to go and have fun? We might need to reconsider what it means to be safe!

When was the last time someone down-sized, in order to give to a greater cause.
A lot of questions enter into my mind. Thank you Dad, for reminding us of the radical call of Jesus.

J. Ross said...

Very good thoughts. I would say to Josh that there are plenty of "the least of these" in private schools too.

Jeff said...

Good points Rick. Too often, I know I'm guilty (and I would guess others) at looking at those around us and pointing out their materialism without looking at ourselves.
How big is my house?
How much money have I invested in clothes?
Do I really need this car/truck with all it's fancy gizmos?
I can easily rationalize why a big screen TV in my living room is OK while people suffer around me. I can easily rationalize that it's OK for me to have nice things while others go without.
I can easily rationalize why I need such a big roof over my head while others struggle to find any shelter. Yet the question still comes down to "what am I giving?"

This point is a hard one for me because I truly feel among all the things I do that is not God's will, my heart towards giving away more and accumulating less is where He would spend the most time trying to change me.

Beverly Ross said...

Wow! Great thoughts - totally cannot wait to hear the sermon! I do accept the challenge to step in a bit tighter here (and challenge it will be). To give more - to be aware of the pain aroung me a bit more. I say amen and amen to Josh, too! Excellent comment!
Liz, I just talked about Molly Wed night - wasn't that a fabulous story of the power of God!

Randy said...

But Rick - if we decided not to serve money we'd have to live totally counter culturally.

Might I suggest that a first step is to prayerfully consider how much of God's money that we return to him.