P.T. Barnum once said, “money is a terrible master, but an excellent servant”. I couldn’t agree more, but there’s another component necessary to prevent money from becoming our master in the first place and to serve excellently – God.
Until we realize we serve God and possess a sincere desire to honor God in all our ways, the money we have been entrusted with, whether it be a little or a lot, will never serve excellently.
Instead, it will tend to compete with our devotions and catapult us into the dangerous territory of idolatry.
The word idolatry tends to cause us to think of statues and/or false gods, which is true, but a more accurate description is less visual and more internal. For idolatry is actually a heart condition. It is where our heart seeks its security, stability, and safety.
For example, do we view our job as our source of identity and security? Do we feel the size of our paycheck and savings accounts determines our safety and value? Do we view other people as our source of approval and emotional stability? If so, all of these things reveal our hearts condition and the idol(s) we seek to meet our “needs”.
We may indeed be a Christian, but if anything takes a higher position in our heart than Jesus, we are guilty of idolatry. As such, money often attracts the devotions our hearts, because of the immediate gratification it provides. We can see it, touch it, spend it, and use it to get us what we want, when we want it, including applause from other people.
But Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters, and directly mentions money (Matthew 6:24). For money is indeed a master of many.
Ultimately, do we seek the hand of God more than we seek His face? In other words, do we only come to Him to give us what we want and receive what we need? If so, money can provides a cheap and sometimes quicker substitute.
However, if our hearts truly seek God’s face, to know Him, to have a relationship with Him, and to desire Him to direct our life, and meet our needs, we are less tempted to look to money to do so. That’s how it then becomes a servant, because we become God’s servant and faithful stewards of His provisions.