Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who Do You Work For?

Did you ever have one of those "aha" moments?  When something that you've heard over and over finally made sense? 

 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Matthew 6:24

I have heard this verse over and over since I was a child.  I've read it in many different Bible translations.  I understood that we're not supposed to worship money, but God.  I never thought of myself as a money worshiper.  I wasn't sure how this applied to me.

Then came the "aha!"

I've been reading through The Children's Bible with the kids, and we read this same passage the other day, and the verse reads like this:

No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will stand by one and despise the other.  You cannot work for both God and worldly wealth.


The Children's Bible is in paragraph form, without the distraction of verse numbers, and I finally realized that this verse falls smack between the section on storing up treasures in heaven, and the part about not worrying about what you will eat and drink.  The section also includes Matthew 6:33 -

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


This verse isn't just about "worshiping" money.  It's about work.  Some churches preach a salvation-only message, and it is true that we cannot do anything to earn our salvation.  It is a true gift from God, paid for by His son, Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross at Calvary.  But Jesus himself spent all this time saying that what we do, what we work at, matters.  And not so much what we do, but why we do it.

You don't have to be a preacher, or the church secretary.  But why are you doing your job?  Is it because it's the job God wants you to do, or is it because it makes you the most money?  Are you afraid to quit a job that's causing you to compromise your beliefs because you might not get as much money somewhere else?  Do you think you need to compromise to survive?  Are you living above your means?  Then you're working for worldly wealth.

Are you unwilling to give some of your food to help someone else?  Do you "require" a certain level of comfort, which keeps you and your spouse in a difficult situation?  Are you trying to find a "get-rich quick" scheme or easy job so that you can finally be content?  Then you're working for worldly wealth.

Maybe we will never be content until we are truly working for God.  Maybe all of our striving to "make a buck" is what's keeping us from living fully.

This revelation has been at once exciting and frightening.  It turns everything I thought about money on its head.  I'm still thinking through all the implications, and trying to figure out how I can practice what I'm preaching!  Because I'm preaching to myself, here.  I've been in all these places.  I struggle with them, now.  As a stay-at-home mom, I've tried scrimping and saving and coming up with ways to work from home, and my efforts generally fail.  As soon as I figure out a budget, something else breaks.  It is frustrating, and I spend a lot of time worrying about it.

So, I'm going to try seeking God first, and doing what He would have me do in every situation, without worrying about whether it will make or save money.  I will try to buy things based on need rather than want, and will make sure I am fulfilling my first duties - worshiping God and taking care of my husband and children - before I worry about doing extra things for the wrong reason.

When someone asks me "Who do you work for?"  I want to be able to answer "God, who supplies all my needs."

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