Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! (Mark 10:21-23)
It is easy for money to become a distraction. Just the making and management of money alone takes effort and focus. Yet money becomes a subtle master if it is not held in check. We love what we think about, so if the majority of our waking moments are consumed by the thought of making more money, then we are distracted. Yes, we need to do our work with excellence as unto the Lord. However, if making money becomes the consuming focus, then our devotion to the dollar competes with our devotion to God. Billions of people wake up every day to make money, but are they making money for wise use or is money using them? If a life is consumed by money, then very little is left over for a life well spent. Time and energy for others become scarce in the wake of compulsive money making.
You may think that your current obsession with making money is for the long-term purpose of autonomy.This thinking is flawed, because the follower of Jesus Christ is never really autonomous. A wealthy believer is still tethered to God’s will, with an expectation for submission to community and Christ for accountability and service. Yes, finances afford you options, but only options that are under the aegis of God’s will. A life of unshackled leisure and self-indulgence is not on God’s radar. He may free you up to serve Him and others, but not to sit and soak. Too many options can be a distraction to God’s best. So how can you avoid money’s distraction?
The Lord will love you away from money’s allurement for the here and now. He will love you into heavenly investments instead. Let Him love you away from the seduction of possessions. Then you will want to reciprocate with love to the One who loves you. If your love quotients are currently met by stuff, then your affections will gravitate in that direction. This is the nature of the mistress of moneymaking. When you allow money to love you, you feel a debt to money. Then, your emotions and energies feel obligated to love back. This is a subtle but effective tool in the enemy’s arsenal.
An affair with money and possessions leaves nothing for the Lover of your soul. Without a love relationship with your Creator, you will become sad, even in the midst of more stuff than you ever dreamed. How ironic. A money lover’s ultimate experience is emptiness.
There is a solution to money’s distraction. By faith, regularly look into the loving eyes of Jesus. Let Him love you, and you will feel led to love Him. Money’s distraction is derailed by a love relationship with Jesus. When you love Him wholeheartedly, there is no room for money to distract. It is a love issue. When you love Him, your treasure is in heaven and not on earth. You cannot love God and money at the same time. This is double-mindedness. Receive His love, and love Him, not money. Give generously, especially to the poor. Then you can enjoy your citizenship in His kingdom with community, accountability, and authentic love.
The Bible says, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me from money’s distraction and I pray I will focus on fellowship with You.
Related Readings: Proverbs 23:5; Luke 16:13; 1 Timothy 6:6-10
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