Do People Really "Serve" Money Instead of God?

I owe. I owe. It's off to work I go!

Luke 16:9-13 (ESV)

“And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 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.”

The ending is kind of creepy. You cannot serve God and money. Do people really serve money?

Absolutely – to an amazing extent. What people seem to forget is that money is almost useless unless you convert it into something else. It’s not pretty. You can’t eat it. You could burn it for heat but most people would cringe at that. A roll of coins makes a nice paperweight though.

It’s funny to watch someone accumulate money with no plans to use it. I knew a brilliant mathematician who had plenty of money, yet was too cheap to go to a sports orthopedist to fix his knee. I said to him, “You love sports, and you won’t spend the money to get back in the game?!? What better thing are you going to do with your money?” It really woke him up.

People get so immersed in the details of what they’re doing that they lose track of why they’re doing it. This is true of everything, even studying the Bible or having a quiet time. When Jesus refers to, “one who is faithful in a very little,” He’s not thinking of someone who frantically and blindly pursues big numbers. Even serving Christ faithfully can be sinful, if you’re just trying to score points.

Specifically, I worry about people misusing those schedules to read through the Bible in one year. This can be a prescription for burnout. These schedules can be edifying, but anyone who tries to read the Bible in a year so that they can check off a box is missing the point.

Everyone misses a day occasionally. If you feel pressured to catch up, you need to ask yourself where that pressure is coming from.

Is your quiet time fun? Do you look forward to connecting with the Lord? If not, if it’s a burdensome obligation, then you need to reassess. Yes, daily QT is a goal you should strive for, but the path to that goal isn’t just increased effort.

Everyone has their own style for QTs. Mornings are best for some. I like evenings.

QTs don’t even have to be at a consistent time, or even at a time at all. You can read a passage and let it “simmer” for a while and come back to it later. That simmer time can even be overnight. There’s no need to distinguish days.

And, for heaven’s sakes, don’t keep score.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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