A couple weeks ago our pastor spoke about worship. This has been a topic that I’ve been thinking about a whole lot lately, especially – weirdly enough – as it relates to one of the things Jesus said about money. Money is a sensitive subject. I kind of hate when people talk about it, because I think a lot of times we make it too black and white or people speak in judgement when they should be speaking in love. But here’s the thing about money that I’ve been thinking about: In Matthew 6, Jesus says:
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24 (NLT)
You guys… that is me. For the last year or so, I’ve lived with full recognition of the fact that I’m serving two masters – one I love, and one I resent. But both of them pretty much consume my thoughts and guide my decisions on a daily basis. The first is Jesus. I love Him, y’all. You probably already know this. I’m just smitten, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But the second master is money. And this is the one I kind of resent. Because seriously, I think about money all the time. Not in the, “I need more of it, I want nice things” kind of way (though admittedly my desire for a dishwasher can be pretty high at times). But right now my relationship with money skews more toward, “I’m in way over my head with medical bills and our combined student loans, and I have no idea where money comes from or how some people have so much, and seriously, I have no idea how I’m going to pay all these bills off.”
In the message, our pastor said, “What we worship is determined by what primarily dominates our mind, and by what we orient our life (time, energy, relationships, finances, etc.) around.”
By that definition, you could very well say that I worship both Jesus and money. I’m caught in a tug of war between the two.
My fear of not having enough money to pay all the bills has guided almost every decision I’ve made in my adult life – the jobs I take, the places I live, the things I do or don’t do. And while I do love giving and have also learned to let loose and enjoy life in the past few years thanks to the amazing people in my life, this all consuming anxiety about money has sucked out way more joy than it should ever have been allowed to suck out over the years. Because, seriously, the result of knowing Jesus is a ton of joy and not a ton of worry.
In the week leading up to our pastor’s message on worship, I had a series of heart to hearts with Jesus about a whole bunch of things. He’s reminding me to live in grace, and in stepping into grace again I’m reminded that my constant worrying about the budget and the stress it can cause isn’t compatible with the joy and freedom Jesus died for us to have. It doesn’t mean I won’t have to pay all these crazy bills, but it does mean I don’t have to worry about it.
The ending of Matthew 6 is actually my favorite part, because it’s the part I need the most. Jesus continues what He was saying with…
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? … Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:25-27, 32b-33 (NLT)
My favorite part of that entire passage? “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Not just “might give us everything we need” or “will consider giving us what we need,” but “will give us everything we need.” Even when we go through hard times or lose it all.
I know that I could go deeper into ways we can handle our money to make it less stressful, but for the sake of everyone who knows what it’s like to find themselves in a mountain of bills sometimes due to circumstances outside of our control, isn’t it really just as simple as that? That God knows our needs. That even when we’re over our heads, we can trust Him. And that ultimately He will provide what we need without our need to stress?
For reals, that’s all I have to say about that.
What do you guys think?
Original photo of “Woman Thinking The Money” by twobee from freedigitalphotos.net. All text and editing added by Stephanie Oh.