Since my earliest memory, I knew that money mattered. The importance of money was heard in the conversations that my parents had. I experienced money’s power as I spent my own hard-earned dollars on something I’d saved for. I was fortunate to have good role models who spent wisely and had a good concept of finances. I did not grow up realizing, however, that God doesn’t care about money in the same way that I did nor did I realize that God’s Word is full of direct instructions about finances.
Jesus spoke about money (or matters relating to money) more than any other subject in the Bible. It is fair to assume that what Jesus spoke much about is something that not only everyone would struggle with, but is a matter that needs to be taken into serious account.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is giving His famous “Sermon on the Mount” and included in the middle of the sermon is a decree in verse 24 that says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Money is a word that not only means money as a currency, but also all of its related aspects, such as wealth, finances, or riches.
When God instructs us in any manner of finances, He is aiding us in choosing Him. According to what Jesus was telling us in Matthew 6:24, there is no middle ground. It is either God or Money that we serve. Since there are two masters, God and Money, we will serve one of them. The choice is up to us and we choose whom we serve when we make our financial choices.
Since the days of the Old Testament, God’s relentless rebuke to the Israelites was that they were idolatrous. God would command the Israelites in some of the following ways: He would forbid intermarriages with foreigners to prevent the Israelites from worshipping foreign gods, He commanded them to wipe out whole people groups to stop paganism, and He had the Israelites institute annual festivals to remind them of what God had done for them in the past. The main reason for such pointed and sometimes harsh commands was for the sole purpose of keeping God their first love. Making sure that they worshipped no other god, as God took a back seat to no other, was God’s primary objective.
God’s fervor for His People has not changed. He not only desires that He be first in every area of our life, but He demands it. Finances are no different. Perhaps finances can be the hardest area to fully commit to the Lord. This is why Jesus was so descriptive about keeping the Lord as the only one whom we serve.
So how then shall we live? We do have a monetary system on this earth that we need to function in. Even Jesus recognized that we are to financially support this world in which we live. He illustrated so when he reminded Israel to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. But with Jesus, it is always a matter of the heart. Jesus is concerned about the personal emphasis placed on wealth which reflects the place in our hearts in which we rank money matters. Is money more important than God?
Since the Bible is full of instruction on finances, God’s Word needs to be our chief financial resource. Knowing His Word is knowing Him. In Hebrews 13 verse 5 it tells us to “Keep [our] your lives free from the love of money”. This means that God is the only one whom we must choose to serve.
Knowing that God’s Word is full of direct instructions about finances reaffirms His great care for us. When we are tempted to think that our choices about financial decisions are only ours and affect no one else, we simply need to remember that God cares.