There has been a lot of conversation about money in the news recently. Whether it is the rising gas prices, the $1400 stimmy that some have received and some wait for, or the current tax conversation happening nationwide, it is apparent that money is the heartbeat of American society. Yet, it is bizarre how important money is to so many people, we often don’t want to talk about it, at least not specifically. Even more so, the church tends to steer away from any money talk, unless it is November of course. It is an uncomfortable topic for most people. Sure, there have been times when the church has abused the topic of money, and it continues today. People have been hurt in this regard, and so therefore when a church brings up this topic, they have an allergic reaction. But here is the thing. Jesus talks about money. A lot. So, it is weird that this topic doesn’t come up more often especially within the context of the church.
During Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” he addresses this relationship that we have with money. I think it would be fair to say, that we have a somewhat toxic relationship with money. When you ask someone what would make their lives easier, so often you hear a response like “well if only I won the lottery…” Or “I just need a million dollars.” There is a correlation in our hearts and minds that equates money with comfort, money with peace, money with assurance, and money with joy. This is what we have been formed to believe, that money is everything. Get good grades, go to a good school, get a job in a lucrative industry, make a lot of money, go on glamourous vacations, buy a big house, invest, save, build up your 401K, live a good life, and die in comfort.
No one is immune it seems from our toxic relationship with money. Jesus sees the issues even to the poor fishermen he preaches to, whether rich or poor, money has a hold on the heart. We find ourselves in this love triangle with God and money. One of those odd relationships like the ones we see in romantic comedies, except this one isn’t funny. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus warns us against this idolatrous mistress who pulls our gaze away from himself. Jesus tells us that the treasures of this world are wasting away, being destroyed, effectively dying. Everything is dying. If the place where your heart is you looking for hope, assurance, and fulfillment is in something that is dying then so is your heart and so are you.
In this love triangle with God and money, we strive to love and serve both. Yet, the building up of earthly treasures is exhausting. It is like a one-sided relationship, it demands everything and gives back very little. It simply offers small moments of manufactured joy that are fleeting and leave you wanting more. Jesus seeks to define the relationship with his children, “you cannot serve both God and money,” he says. There is no grey area. There is no debate. Jesus is calling you to forsake everything and follow him. Instead of putting trust into those temporary dying treasures, he calls you to die to yourself. To place your trust in the one who died to bring you life.
For he knows that all who have faith in him will inherit the treasures that Christ has earned. In faith, we will receive what is ours on account of Christ. In faith, we will inherit the glorious riches of eternal life, where nothing will die, but instead, it will be paradise. We will receive the crown of glory, and we will sit at the greatest feast in all creation. So be cautious not to believe in the lies about money. For Jesus is clear, we can trust in the dying things, or in Him who brings to life. We can trust in the world, or the one who created it. So do not worry, dear Christian. Your reward is yours. Jesus has earned it, and although he has died he is alive.