You cannot serve both God and money. (Matt. 6:24)

Jesus’ teaching highlights the danger of money. It is so easy to chase money, to desire the power and autonomy it can bring, to find our security in our income or the money we have saved up. Without thinking, we find ourselves stressing over the stock market, wondering about the financial situation of another person, or fantasizing about what we would do with a little bit more.

Christians desperately try to short-circuit this teaching of Jesus. We tell ourselves and others how little we have, trying to reassure ourselves that we could not possibly be idolatrous about our money because we do not have as much as our boss or our neighbor. As long as we focus on how fortunate others are, we feel we are off the hook when it comes to this teaching. Yet we consistently underestimate how much we have, and the degree to which money has a hold on our hearts.

Yet our certainty that Jesus was talking about someone else makes this even more dangerous. Money is a dangerous predator, says Jesus, and we are never more vulnerable to a predator than when we refuse to take precautions against it. If we do not want to worship money, we must admit that we are in danger of doing so and practice giving sacrificially and secretly to others so that it does not happen.

Practice giving sacrificially so that you can successfully avoid worshiping money.

Michael Jordan is the dean of the chapel at Houghton College (New York), where he also serves as chair of the department of biblical studies, theology, and philosophy.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.