19Store not up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moths and rust ruin and where thieves dig through and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust ruins and where thieves do not dig through and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22The eyes are the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, the whole body is full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body is full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24No one is able to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve God and mammon.
The ancient Jews did not live in a capitalistic structure; nor did they know anything about free markets or Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” from The Wealth of Nations. They didn’t have 401(k)’s, Social Security retirement accounts, or municipal bonds. In fact, the type of government that they had roughly corresponds to the type of government that today’s anti-capitalist activist prefers: an authoritarian one in which the individual’s wealth belongs to the state. Yet they had a greed problem. How is this possible? Because any time someone trusts themselves to be their own provider, greed follows. Any time a person has acclimated himself to the pursuit of treasure—for any purpose—that pursuit becomes his obsession. Jesus challenged this notion, reminding His disciples that true treasure is something eternal; an investment of the most patient sort.
How shall we apply this teaching to our lives today? First, we should be convinced that God is our Provider, not us. Once we know that, our obsession with money begins to fade. The God Who is able to save our souls can surely provide money for our bills, sustenance and daily bread. When we know that, we no longer treat our jobs as the defining priorities of our lives. Rather, we recognize our jobs as gifts from God that finance our own ministries. God gave you your job to finance your commitment to the gospel of Christ in your sphere of influence. It is an opportunity to not only live out the gospel, but help pay for what God calls you to do in His community.
Second, we can honor God with our firstfruits. When we bring God His tithe, we are not living in obedience to a Law….but demonstrating our trust in Him as Provider. We are behaving in obedience to His word, which is more valuable to us than money. To withhold is to tell Him and the world that we don’t truly trust Him.
What is your attitude toward your job and money today? If you see yourself as the sole provider for your daily bread, then you will always want more and never have enough. But if you see God as your Provider, you will learn contentment and satisfaction—and you’ll never run out.