Imagine if one out of every four Sundays your pastor preached on money. Would you stay at that church?
Most pastors don’t know how to teach on money. Most of us don’t think we have a problem with it. But when we look closely at Jesus, he said it was our number one spiritual obstacle. About twenty-five percent of his teaching dealt with it.
Jesus knew that something will always be in the center of our hearts and if it’s not God, the most likely substitute is money. This is as true for housewives as for investment bankers, for ministry leaders and corporate executives.
The opposite of loving God is not atheism; it’s loving money.
In The Beginning
The worst day in history was the day we stopped believing God was generous. This is where our love of money began.
You remember the scene in the Garden of Eden. The lie Satan spun like a trap was, “God is holding out on you. You can’t trust him. If God really loved you than you could have everything you wanted.” The devil took Adam and Eve’s eyes off of everything that God had so generously given them and got them to focus on the one tree God said not to eat from.
And they ate.
They ate because they believed the lie that life would be better if they took what they wanted. They ate because they believed God is not generous.
We all wake up in this world with those same lies in our hearts. We seek security and chase comfort in money. Deep down we believe more money really would make us happier. If you grew up in church, then you don’t say it out loud, but at times you think it.
The younger brother in Jesus’ Prodigal Son story was thinking it and eventually asked his father for an early inheritance so he could go have some fun. He took his father’s wealth and went to Vegas, essentially. Wild parties and expensive drinks were probably the kind of happiness he sought. But at the end of every night and the bottom of every glass something was missing.
Money didn’t keep its promise. The friends it bought were temporary. The pleasure it provided ran out. And this is the reality of money; it will one day fail us all. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but there is coming a day when money will fail us and the sooner it does, the better.
Generous After All
The younger brother found himself feeding pigs just to survive “and no one gave him anything.” The world was cold and hard and the only flicker of light he had was the memory of his father's generosity. He perished with hunger, while his father’s hired servants had more than enough bread. His father was generous after all.
Jesus says this was his turning point moment. This was his breakthrough. And it will be yours as well. Seeing the truth of our Father in heaven is what undoes the initial lie. It's the way out of slavery to the love of money.
God is not holding out on you. Instead, he comes to you as a generous Father today. Can you see him? The more you can, the more you'll be free to seek first his kingdom and live the life that's truly life.
This is what I invite you to.