It was some 30 years ago and I was with a group of guys from college. We had driven about 20 hours by van to a Youth Minister’s Convention at Ozark Christian College near Joplin, Missouri.
Tony Campolo is one of the most outspoken and humorous speakers I have ever heard but on this day a guy in the audience got one up on him. Tony was good at asking startling questions to grab your attention and on this occasion he asked where exactly the Bible spoke against polygamy. Everyone was quiet until a guy yelled out…
Matthew 6:24 – Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters…”
Everyone there, including Tony, roared with laughter! But marriage, specifically polygamy, is not the context of Matthew 6:24. Jesus was actually speaking about money. The term “master” is mostly lost on those of us who have never lived in a society where the master/slave relationship actually existed. But for Jesus’ audience this term carried plenty of weight. Today, we might say “Don’t let money wear the pants.”
How we relate to money was such a concern to Jesus that 42% of His parables focused on it. That would be the equivalent of a pastor using the pulpit to preach about it 21 weeks every year! Wow! Jesus addressed this issue that frequently because He knew how prone we are to pursue wealth/possessions ahead of a relationship with the Father.
So how do we know if money has become our master? Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
* Am I willing to share what I have with others, even the new stuff?
* How much time/energy do I spend thinking about stuff I don’t have but want?
The antidote for all of this is to seek first the kingdom of God and store up treasure in heaven. In other words, view our resources as belonging to God and be looking for how God would have us use them for the benefit of others.
So, between you and money… who’s wearing the pants?
P.S. - Last week’s message dealt with this issue and is posted on my Sermon/Audio page above. It will also be our focus this week when we gather again as God’s community.