Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

7. The Poverty and Prosperity Test – Part 3

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Matthew 6:19-24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

After the heart test comes to the head and the third test:

  1. The Mind Test.

The third test asks the question, “Where is your focus?” and is found in verses 22-23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole 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!” Jesus is saying that there are only two possible ways to look at things, through the lens of light and darkness. If our minds focus only on earthly things life will become cloudy and dark. When money becomes our #1 obsession, it will put blinders on our eyes and ruin our spiritual life. But when our mind is focused on how we can deposit treasures in heaven it will light up our life. We will start to look for opportunities to serve instead of being selfish.  Are you letting cash or Christ consume your thoughts? Is your thinking clear or cloudy? Are you focused on giving or on getting? Last but not least is:

  1. The Master Test.

The fourth and final test focuses on our will and asks the question: “Whom do you serve?” Verse 24: “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.” To “serve” means that we’ve made a choice to engage our wills. If we’re not careful our emotions will affect our minds, which in turn can cause our wills to focus on money more than the Master. The word Jesus uses here for money is the word, “Mammon,” which is a proper noun, or a name. Jesus viewed Money as a rival for preeminence. An attachment to money leads to a detachment from God. Money fights for supremacy in our lives. One of the reasons we turn to and trust in money especially in trying times is because money has many of the characteristics of a deity. It promises security, freedom and power. But only one master can win out, and the master that wins will be the One we serve. Money is a wonderful servant but a lousy master, and it will be one or the other in your life, either you will serve money or it will serve you. To be a committed follower of Christ is not merely a matter of the emotions but also of our minds and wills. We are not following by feeling but by faith. To love God requires service and even sacrifice and this type of allegiance cannot be rendered to two parties. Whatever we devote ourselves to will become our God. How we manage money reveals where our loyalties lie. Jesus reminds us that money is not just a neutral medium of exchange, but a “power” with a life of its own which seeks to control, and even consume us. The goal of this Money Master is total domination of your value system. Jesus doesn’t say “you better not” He says, “you cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus words are disturbing for He says, if you love money, you will end up hating God. If you are devoted to the pursuit of possessions, you will find yourself despising the things of God. While we want to make it about the amount, how much we have, Jesus focuses on our attitude. Do you have a right attitude or a rotten attitude, a giving attitude or a grabbing one? How do you know when you have a Right Attitude, you see Giving as:

A Priority Not a Problem… A matter of Willingness not Wealth…A matter of Opportunity not Obligation. You see there are 3 Types of Givers –

Little – You ought to (obligation)

Legal – You have to (law)

Liberal – You want to (grace)

Are you a little, legal or liberal giver? The goal is not grabbing as much as we can but giving God all the glory we can. Where are you investing His possessions so that it points people to God? We need to take this four-part test on a regular basis:

  1. The Durability Test. How long will my things last? Are they temporary or will they last forever in heaven?
  2. The Heart Test. Where am I investing my time and money? What excites me the most, earth or heaven? Which place makes my heart beat faster?
  3. The Mind Test. Where do I focus my goals? Am I committed to materialism or spirituality? Do I operate according to God’s priorities, or my own?
  4. The Master Test. Is Jesus my master or is something, or someone, else? Will I serve money on earth and allow it to be my god, or will I serve God in heaven with my treasures, which are really His in the first place?

 

 

 

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