Last Friday, the news announced that a winning ticket had been sold for the Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot. The winner, a person in Michigan, now has a claim to the $739.6 million cash payout—the 2nd-largest total ever.
When you hear a story like this, it is easy to begin fantasizing about what you would do with that much money and how it could change your life. With that much money, you could pay off your house, buy a bigger house, and buy a place for your mom. You could replace your older, high-mileage vehicle and get the new 2021 F-250 King Ranch you have been eyeing. You could quit your job and pursue the dream career or start-up business you never felt secure enough to go after. You could give a large amount away to someone in need or to an organization that makes a difference in your community. And, for all of you parents, think about the ability to ensure future opportunities for your kids. That would be nice. Right?
Honestly, it can be fun to dream and think about money. And it’s okay to “imagine if” for a bit, but there is a danger in falling in love with money—believing that money is the provider, not God.
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.
Josh Whitlow’s bottom line to this past weekend’s message asked this question: Do you have money, or does money have you?
When money has us, things can go wrong in a hurry. Look no further than past lottery winners. Last year, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 70% of people who win a lottery or receive a large windfall go bankrupt within a few years. They stop working, give too much away, taxes negate the winnings, or spend it all.
When money has us instead of us having it, it distracts us from what God wants to do in us and through us. Josh pointed out this weekend when money has us, it can affect every area of our lives, including our marriage, career, influence, and perspective.
God wants to give us freedom in this area, though. That is why Jesus points out that money is a chief competitor to him.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
In this verse, “money” is shown to be a potential master competing with God for our trust and loyalty. A few weeks ago, Ben Snyder taught us about the principle of firsts. That principle is at the heart of this verse. This verse isn’t saying wealth is evil, but it tells us God must be first, not money or possessions.
When God takes his rightful place in our lives, the rest will fall into order. Trusting God to provide for our needs and relying on him alone for our security is the beginning of finding freedom in every area of our lives.
Over the next few days, we will look at how we can use our money in a way that will lead to a life of freedom—a life where we are ready to receive God’s best.
Have you ever thought, “If I had more money, my life would be better”? What do you think would be better about it?
This weekend’s bottom line is “Do you have money, or does money have you?” What are the ways you’ve witnessed money “have” someone?
Be honest, have you been looking to find security, significance, safety, or anything else in money instead of God?
Do you have money, or does money have you?
Take time to think about the final question above. Right down the ways that money has you today. Commit to putting God first and begin using your money in a way that leads to a life of freedom. Read the LivingItOut each day this week.
Dear God, you are worthy of being first in every area of my life. As I reflect on today’s scripture, help me see the place that money has in my life. Forgive me for the times that I allow money to “have me” and for the times that I look to it for security or significance instead of looking to you. As I seek you, grow my love for you and help me to follow you today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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