For a long time I believed that ‘having money’ equaled ‘serving money’, but over the past few months and years, this belief has changed.
I have read research about millionaires and I have followed several successful people (in independent fields) who are likely millionaires, even though I only know one of the three that come to mind to actually be. These three individuals seem similar to most millionaires in the surveys and research I have uncovered, and they do not serve money.
Believe it or not, having money does not drive their lives. What drives their lives is the desire to help and educate others. They each have a chosen field and platform that they use to help others, and they are both very generous of their time and their resources. In my mind, they are serving God (each of their primary purposes is to help people) first, and making their money behave is only a small line item on their to-do list. They are not featured prominently in the media for being examples of wealthy people, because they are normal—and boring, and they are more well known for what they do, not that they are rich. (Well one of them has a successful talk radio show and is better known than the other two in media circles.)
These people have chosen God over money, but instead of living hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck, money has found them too. Could this be like Solomon’s request for wisdom, because with wisdom comes fame, money, and power?
In the passage Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus starts by telling us “Don’t store up your treasures here on earth . . .” This is a strange text segment because it also seems to run counter to having wealth. Jesus just got finished saying in the first verses of this chapter that those who desire fame here on earth will lose out on heaven/eternal life—that those who want earthly praise will miss out on heaven’s reward.
Is this the same with money? If it were, would Jesus have included it here?
He actually did—in verse 19-21. So how does not storing up treasure on earth allow someone to be wealthy and saved? Elsewhere Jesus comments that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven (Matthew 19:24). There is much discussion/debate over the term ‘eye of a needle’ but whatever it was, it seemed challenging and near impossible—especially in the context of the verses it was mentioned in.
Perhaps Jesus views money as a tool and not a reward. A tool is used for something while a reward is displayed prominently. Money used as a tool changes hands, helps bless others, and brings blessing to life. Money used as a reward becomes stagnant because it isn’t moving, and it seems to corrupt the owner.
Why? Most probably, it is because the love of money causes evil and not the money itself. It was the love of money that kept the ‘rich young ruler’ (Luke 18:18-23) out of the inner circle of disciples (it is likely that he would have been the twelfth disciple before Judas the betrayer). The rich young ruler could have been the treasurer in the group of disciples, and had he not had the love of money mentality, he would have gained so much more than what he had previously accumulated.
In short, storing up treasures on earth (including money, time, and energy) is foolish because as Christians, we know where we ultimately will go, and with this knowledge, our earthly belongings must not be our treasures—instead, they must be viewed as tools for expanding the kingdom of God because that is where our real treasure lies.
Question to ponder: How can I use what God has given me to help others today?
P.S. Did I miss something, or would you like to respond? Join the conversation below!