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Slaying the Money Idol

Over on FB and Twitter, I referenced an article over at Faith and Leadership that asks, “Should pastors know what members give?” I wasn’t even really trying to push one answer, just referencing F&L article as it offered some useful insights. This set off quite a discussion, but most of the objections center around money being a private issue,  shaped by the privitistic, individualistic culture in which we live. While not intending to answer the question about pastors knowing, I do think the discussion raises an even bigger issue.

As is often stated, Jesus spent more time talking about money than he did any issue short of the kingdom of God. Why? Because money is a big deal. Consider Matthew 6:24…

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” Matthew 6:24.

You cannot serve both God and money. They are at odds with one another. Only one can be that in which you hope and trust. Our money may say “In God we trust,” but, for most of us, it’s money we trust. We idolize and worship money, not God. Consider this cartoon…

Poignant, huh? It has often been said that “Jesus is either Lord of all or not at all.” That is, there is no keeping your money out of the conversation. When our money is out of bounds, or kept unto ourselves, you are making a choice to serve money. And, again, as Jesus has said, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t serve both God and money. The real issue here is one of slaying idols and of sanctification. At some point in your sanctification, your attitude and approach toward money will be brought to the forefront. Just a few verses earlier, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Bring your money into the waters of baptism that you may be sanctified and Jesus may be all in all.

Interact: What money idol do you need to slay in order to set your heart on the Kingdom of God?


Book Review: Matt Bell’s Money Strategies for Tough Times

Following is a review of Matt Bell’s Money Strategies for Tough Times
as part of my ongoing participation in the NavPress Blogger Review Program.

Matt Bell’s Money Strategies for Tough Times is an excellent resource for all of us. Both personally and professionally, many of us find ourselves having to buckle down as jobs are lost and bills are due. With an excellent combination of biblical reflection, market insight and practical helps such as charts and assignments, Bell provides the reader a framework by which to think Christianly and then to act diligently with the money God provides.

Throughout the book, Bell asks simple, but piercing, questions. “Are you in a financial crisis or a financial crunch?” (p. 30). “How did you get here?” (p. 33). These questions set the stage for the reader to honestly reflect on his/her own financial situation and then to heed Bell’s clear plans for getting out of debt and for saving. If your wallet is being crunched, read Bell’s book. If you feel inadequate to talk about money, you will find Bell’s consistent habit of defining his terms helpful (“secured” vs. “unsecured” debt, etc). Additionally, the book contains several sidebars where he lays looks at some specific issues, offering warnings on payday loans, 0% percent loans and other potential pitfalls that offer more hope than they are likely to deliver.

If you are looking to cut back some bills, turn off your lights. If you are looking to get radical with your finances to get out of debt and to give generously, read Matt Bell’s Money Strategies for Tough Times