Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Idol In Your Wallet

An average of eight hours a day, five days a week, fifty weeks of the year, we give our energy, our minds and our thoughts to our work. We spend a great deal of our time working and laboring to make money. In a society where it can be traded for our needs, it’s a necessity. But far too often, money becomes the desire of our hearts.

Money itself is not the problem. What harm can a small piece of paper or small circle of metal do? But the love of money has a power all its own. It has the power to control the heart and mind. This comes partially from the fact that it is used to judge social stature. If you don’t have it - you’re low on the social ladder. If you have it, and have enough of it - you’re up high in social standings. Friends will come out of the woodwork when you have wealth.

The love of money can drive people to do things they would not otherwise do. It will cause people to steal and to kill. Money has made best friends into devout enemies. It makes parents become absentees as their children grow in the care of babysitters and guardians while they put in just a few more hours of overtime. It can corrupt government officials who were "for the people" and cause the most devout evangelists to turn from the God who gave them their wealth, and to the desires of the world.

Worst of all, it can cause men to steal from God. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.“ Webster’s defines Mammon as “the false god of riches”. By loving money above God, we are worshiping the false god, an idol, an idol carried not only in our wallets but also in our hearts. When our hearts are filled with the love of money, God is pushed into crevices. We are no longer loyal to the wishes of God, but seek to serve our money and social status instead. We break God’s number one rule to have no other gods before Him.

Have you ever played a game of Christian hot potato? Oh, you may have and just not known it. Watch as an offering plate is passed through a church. Look at the faces of those who are trying to quickly move the plate along. Hot Potato! Hot Potato! Keep that plate moving quickly! If it stays in front of you, and you’re not giving, there’s guilt! You can feel it, but just like most sins, we try our best to ignore it. Inwardly we’re screaming “Get away from me plate! I don’t want to feel the need to be subject to God with my income! This is mine, mine, MINE!”

Perhaps you have forsaken God’s ordinance of tithing. Instead of being good stewards of the income God has given you, have you decided, perhaps subconsciously, that you cannot afford to give to God? I beg to differ! You cannot afford NOT to give!

In Malachi 3: 8-10 God says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.“

Which do you prefer? A curse, or a blessing? It really is just that simple…unless you deny the infallible Word of God. Personally, I want to see the windows of Heaven opened for me. God, I’m ready to receive my financial blessing! And when it comes, and I know it will, I’ll recognize the Father who gave to me because I was willing to put Him first.

Put God first when you really want to keep the money. That’s called sacrifice.

Put God first when you don’t know where your next dollar will come from. That’s called Faith.

Put God first when you really have a need for the money. That’s called Trust.

That’s called worship - worship of God, not mammon.

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