Luke 16:13 quotes Jesus as saying: “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’” (NRSV)
“You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Do you hear what Jesus is saying? I mean really hear him.
Jesus is saying we can’t be all in on both of these things.
Here in America it seems as though we’ve tried to make a deal with God – that we can love both God and money.
Granted, this isn’t something special to America. Many peoples and nations have tried to make the same deal with God before. We’re just the latest rendition of the same old out of tune song.
I’m not sure how else to explain how our relationship with money really works. We have a tendency to listen to money as we make decisions. God is usually an afterthought – if God is considered at all.
We make decisions about the planet based on how much profit we can extract from it. We ignore what God has to say about care of creation.
We make decisions about the poor based on how much any support of them will cost. We ignore what God has to say about those that trample poor.
We make decisions about strangers based on how much they will cost to welcome in. We ignore what God has to say about welcoming the stranger.
We make decisions about our defenses by asking how much more we need for a false sense of safety. We ignore what God has to say about our enemies.
We determine how much worth someone has based on the job they have, how productive they are, and how much their net worth is – things that Pharaoh used to determine a person’s worth. We ignore what God has to say about how we are created in God’s image and derive our worth from that – not from what we are able to do.
We define success based on how much money a person earns, how much a candidate can raise, and how much a business can create. We ignore what God has to say about what success in the kingdom of God is actually about.
Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” We respond by saying, “But the right people haven’t tried it the right way Jesus.” It’s the excuse that is made for every type of economic -ism that ever existed – whether it be capitalism, socialism, communism, mercantilism, feudalism, etc. On paper, all these isms work great. And then they implemented. And along the way, there are winners and losers. And we continue to ignore God’s economics and God’s use of money and wealth.
We can’t serve God and wealth. Doesn’t matter how hard we try. It doesn’t work. It isn’t worth it.