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Do you serve God or Money?

Episode 71

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Is money your God? The Bible says you cannot serve both God and money…it’s time to choose. Ironically, money will never make you happy, because the more you have, the more you’ll want! Jesus spoke more about money than any other topic in the Bible. Eleven of Christ’s thirty-nine parables refer to mammon. Jesus warned His followers of loving ‘mammon’ more than Him. Mammon is an Aramaic word which represents, ‘wealth’ or ‘property.’ The salient question is whether or not this ‘mammon’ is an idol in your life. Let’s join Carl now as he speaks from the heart on this matter…

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…

Friend, “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.” Now these are Jesus words in Matthew 6:24. In Aramaic, the language that many people believe Jesus spoke, the word for money or wealth is ‘mammon.’ In two instances (Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13), mammon is identified as a rival to God for the loyalty of the disciples and the same warning is pertinent to us today. Jesus asks us—who will we obey: God or money? It’s impossible friend to serve this god called “mammon” and the true Yahweh God at the same time. The NT calls money, “uncertain riches” for a reason, they’re so labeled because they cannot be trusted, but God can and he offers the greatest return of investment of all when we sow into His Kingdom. In 1st Timothy 6:17, the Apostle Paul warns the rich not to be high minded, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” This word highminded in the modern vernacular really means arrogant and there’s potential for the rich to arrogant because they have so much money.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus considers riches as an idol, master, or God of the human heart—something in direct conflict with worship of the true God. If ever there was a topic that stirs up passion in this life it’s money. Did you know that Jesus spoke more about money than any other topic in the Gospels besides the Kingdom of God? In eleven of the 39 parables, he talks about money and even more about money than heaven or Hell. Therefore, this topic of money is very close to God’s heart, because it’s often in direct competition with Him for the allegiance of men’s hearts. The point Jesus was making is that money should never be served, but we should serve God and use money instead. We should use it to honor God firstly and also pay earthly dues when necessary to the ruling authorities in this life.

Now did you notice in the passage I read that if you attempt to serve two masters, you will end up either despising or hating the other? In other words, you need to pick a side, because trying to play both sides will result in enormous frustration. Friend, the issues of life come down to our hearts attitude and money is no different. If someone has an issue with money, it originates with the heart. If there’s one thing I know about the Lord, he will challenge any idols in our lives on a regular basis, if that idol seeks to gain precedence over our desire for the Lord, God will test it. Friend we must lay upon the altar and allow God to burn up our idols. This certainly isn’t comfortable but necessary. In Luke 16:11 Jesus reminds us that if we’re not faithful with material things, how then can we be faithful in spiritual matters which are far more important. Luke 16:11 says, If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”

Friend those true riches are spiritual matters and there is no greater way for you to demonstrate your faithfulness to God than in the physical area of giving firstly, if we’re to be found faithful with these spiritual matters. Jesus also warned us that we should not be storing up riches in fear, demonstrating a miserly spirit. You see those who store up treasure have a fear of losing it. Money is sometimes called currency because it must flow in order for it to be useful to mankind. Like the flow of a river, it takes its course. If you store up your wealth, it becomes a dam instead of a river, and it will be unable to flow into the areas of your life it needs to. Jesus actually spoke about this himself. Let’s read Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Friend, Jesus admonished us to lay up treasure in heaven, but let me ask you this, what are the only treasures that make it to heaven? The answer is souls. The souls of people that you win for Christ are eternal treasures stored up for you in heaven. Friend, we will have no need for earthly money in heaven it will be useless, that’s why it’s so important that we utilize it correctly on earth. Did you know friend, the Jews used money to trick Jesus? In another instance in Matthew 22:19–21, Jesus asked the Jews, to show Him a coin used to pay the Roman tax. They handed Jesus a denarius having the portrait and inscription of Caesar. In Jesus’ day, Roman coins were inscribed with the emperor’s image. Since the emperor was worshiped in the Roman Empire as a god, these coins were tantamount to the expression of idolatry. That coin could either have been a denarius of Caesar Augustus, who had died some sixteen years before, or of Caesar Tiberius who was on the throne at that time.

By asking Jesus whether Jews should pay taxes, these Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to either (1) say it was wrong—and then they could make Jesus out be a traitor before the Roman authorities; or (2) say that taxes should be paid—and then they could accuse Jesus of opposing God himself. This was especially pertinent because the inscription on the coins of that day typically acknowledged Roman gods. Jesus responded, telling them they were Hypocrites because these Jews were carrying the very same Roman coins, they tempted Jesus with, so they were demonstrating idolatry. The Jews, also instigated the business of exchanging Roman currency for temple currency in the temple courts because of these inscriptions of Roman gods on the coin. The money changers converted Roman money into “orthodox coins” for the temple half-shekel but in doing so they took an extortionate amount of money for themselves in the exchange. This system became a means for certain Jews to become rich and so they did. This hypocritical system infuriated Jesus so much, he overthrew the money changers’ tables, and then proclaimed, “My Father’s house is a place of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). In John’s Gospel, it says Jesus was so upset, he made a whip of chords and drove out the money changers, because he was so angry with them.

But what is money exactly? In commerce and in trade, money may be defined as a means of exchange. For the individual money is a necessity if he is to live in our Western society as bartering has become redundant. But money is more than just a means of exchange. It’s a symbol of work. In order for money to be put into circulation some kind of work had to be done first. So, in other words the dollar bill symbolizes your time and effort, so in a sense money, also represents a portion of your life. It’s also tied to the stewardship of time. We utilize our God given gifts of time and talent, which then produces work and ends up in the distribution of money, for that effort. That’s why it’s so valuable to God because in many ways the money we earn is representative of the time, energy and talent God gave us for His glory, and therefore we’re obligated to give back some of it to Him, who gave it all to us, in the first place. Any type of gift we give to God is an act of worship and a pledge of loyalty between the giver and the receiver. In other words, as I give to you lord, I pledge my loyalty to you and my money gift to you, is evidence of this. But friend, what are we supposed to do with that money? You see friend, money is not inherently evil, but the Bible does say that the love of money is the root of all evil in this world in the KJB. Other translations will say that it is ‘a root of evil’ but not the root, but friend; we all know that when we serve money instead of God our priorities are in the wrong place:

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim 6:9-10)

Jesus also warned about this desire for wealth and its impact on the soul. Matthew 16:26 says:

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Friend it’s a biblical truth that the pursuit of riches and fame in this earth comes at the expense of your very soul. Notice Jesus said you cannot gain the world and retain your soul; there is no profit in it. Then in the latter part of the verse, Jesus alludes to the fact that we can exchange our soul for the purposes of riches or perhaps even fame. Now some might call me crazy, but it’s a well-known fact for those who’ve researched it that in the music industry today, some popular artists have gone on record saying they have made literal satanic contracts for fame and money, at the expense of their own soul.

You might have heard of Robert Johnson who was a great American Blues musician in the early part of the 20th century, ranked 5th out of 100 on Rolling Stones list as the greatest guitarists of all time. The legend goes that he wanted to be great at guitar and was instructed to head to a crossroads. There he met the devil who gave him complete mastery over the instrument. Those who knew Johnson before this encounter gave testimony to the fact that he couldn’t play a tune on the guitar beforehand and Johnson himself also did little to dispel the rumors, even stating that he had, indeed, made a deal with the prince of darkness. He produced 6 records before his death at age 27 and joined the infamous 27 club. Even today, several recording artists have allegedly sold their souls and even made mention of this in TV interviews, including Bob Dillon and Katy Perry. They went on record saying an unholy pact was made for fame and fortune. But does the devil really have the ability to do this? Yes, friend he can:

Again, the devil took Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (Mathew 4:8-9)

Friend, this wouldn’t be a true temptation unless Satan really does have the power to grant people the riches and glory of this world, for those who willing serve him contractually. Friend, watch out especially young people especially when it comes to what kinds of music you listen to as there’s always a spirit behind it. You know friend the reality is that you don’t actually own your money and this is hard for some to comprehend. We are in fact merely stewards of God’s money. Stewardship means to hold something in trust for someone else. For the Christian it means that all that we possess we hold in trust for God to whom we shall one day have to give an account of our stewardship and one of the accounts we’ll have to give is with our money. We don’t own our money through cleverness or hard work, because God gave us the intelligence and energy to make that money in the first place. He is the true source of all wealth. On the flip side of this, there may be something you’re trying to do for the Lord and you are restricted by money in the natural realm. But friend, don’t go around saying you can’t afford to do it, simply put it in god’s hands and the true source of wealth will provide you with the means to do what He has asked you to do. My wife is particularly good at this, several years ago as a student, she believed the Lord for finances to go on a mission’s trip. The amount was really quite high, close to $5000 in all but she believed God and it came in and frankly on her budget as a student this looked all but impossible in the natural realm. Friend, it’s time realign whom you serve in this life. Trust the Lord, but never uncertain riches and he will provide what you need for the things He desires in your life.

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Episode 71