No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money. Luke 16:13
It is the nature of addiction to consume the addict’s life. As the obsession with getting, using, and maintaining his use grows, everything else becomes subservient to the drug. The addict’s mind become so focused – and sick – that he’ll sacrifice anything and everything to get the drug. Addiction doesn’t allow other gods before it. The drug insists that the addict worship it above all. Loved ones don’t understand as they are cast aside when the addict puts his drug above even them. The addict understands though. He has only one god and it does not tolerate competition.
This seems to be the nature of Jesus’ teaching in today’s passage. Instead of referring to drugs though, Christ again warned of the dangers of greed. He said that we cannot be dedicated to two masters. Love of money and love of God take us in different directions, and we can’t pursue both at the same time. They are mutually exclusive, and we must make a choice. Choosing one means abandoning the other. Money, like a drug, can easily become an addiction that consumes everything.
When made to choose between spending time with family or working, greed will abandon family. When faced with a moral quandary regarding finances, the one who loves money above all will follow his first love.
Jesus didn’t say money was evil. The disciples themselves had a treasurer who managed their money. The fact that he – Judas – was eventually consumed by greed only illustrates the danger of money. We start out controlling it, but like the drug, it seeks to control us. Money is a jealous god that doesn’t tolerate competitors.
Am I addicted to money? I don’t think of myself as greedy, but when I ask myself if I’d sell everything I owned and give it to the poor if God asked me to, I’m not entirely sure of the answer. I honestly hope he never asks. Daily, the challenge for me, is to examine myself. What am I pursuing today? Am I putting God’s will ahead of mine? Or, am I following my way? God must be my God. I cannot follow him while I’m living for me and a love of money.