One of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in my life was basing a decision solely on money. Years ago, I was offered a leadership position that I was not ready to assume. I knew I wasn’t mature enough to step into this role, but I said yes despite my reservations. Its financial and long-term career prospects seemed too good to pass up.
It probably goes without saying, but I failed miserably in that role. It was a humiliating experience. Yet, all these years later, I don’t regret that experience. Through it I learned that when the purpose that drives or motivates us for a task is out of sync with the purpose of the work, it may be impossible for our efforts to be successful. What we live for often shapes the life we lead.
Jesus confronts us with this harsh reality when he says, You cannot serve God and wealth (v. 24). Money is not inherently a bad thing. Yet when making as much of it as possible becomes the primary driving force behind our decision making, pursuing it can corrupt and corrode our relationships with God and neighbor.
James K.A. Smith notes, “Jesus is a teacher who doesn’t just inform our intellect but forms our very loves. He isn’t content to simply deposit new ideas into your mind; he is after nothing less than your wants, your loves, your longings.”
We are what we love. If we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, our money is never an end in itself. Instead, wealth becomes yet another tool God uses to further God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
When has money diverted your attention from God?
God, remind us that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. Amen.