Jesus says: Beware of Money!

Alcoholics have this tendency to think that they can hold their liquor really well.  They feel they can always have "just one more," and that they can quit drinking at any time.

People often have this same problem when it comes to wealth.  They don't think they have a problem with the love of money.  They just like to work hard, dream big, and pursue the American dream.

We have this tendency to look at money as a very neutral thing, and say things like "It's only a tool, it's neither good or bad, money is what you make out of it."  Such is fundamentally no different than the alcoholic that thinks they can hold their liquor.  We never view making one more dollar as a danger.

Yet this is the exact opposite view that the New Testament holds.

In the eyes of Jesus and the apostles, money was far from a neutral thing.  Money was something that had the power to transform you, and even damn your very soul.  And instead of looking at wealth as a sign of Divine favor and a great source of blessing, money was looked at as something that was to be handled very, very carefully.  

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth." ~ Matthew 6:19-24 (NASB)
Here you have it, in black and white (or in red letters if that's your thing)! 

Jesus says the way you view money is of eternal importance.  Your perspective about wealth will shape your eternal destination, and it will define your religion and your relationship to God.

As Jesus says above, He wants us to look at money with clear eyes so that our souls can be full of God's light, and so that we can value things in their true and eternal perspective.  Such will keep us heavenly minded, and safeguard us against ruin.  He warns, however, that if our vision is bad and if we don't have a clear perspective, we are in danger of being lost in darkness, and will understand the world (and heaven) in a very warped and perverted way, though we claim to "really" understand (like some of you who are disagreeing with what I'm saying).

Jesus says that trappings of wealth are so dangerous that you are going to have to choose who you are going to have to a love for, and who you are going to hate.  Jesus says if you love money, you are going to hate God.  However, if you are going to love God, you are going to have to hate wealth.

Loving both simply does not mix, try as you might.

So let's get this straight:  Jesus says you will love money and hate God, OR, you will love God and hate money.

This is what Jesus leaves us with in His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount.  He doesn't leave us room for both.

Of course, such offends our American sensibilities.  It especially offends our American Christian sensibilities.  For we have this tendency to look at wealth as a blessing from God and a sign of Divine favor.  It's become the seal of our righteousness, the proof that God loves us, and that He is on our side!

Far from looking at money as a neutral thing, as Christians we should be as uncomfortable around it as we are idols.  And if we aren't, we can be assured that we are on the fast track to making money our idol and master.  And worst of all, far from being a sign of God's favor and blessing in our lives, it is a warning sign from God that we are on our way to hating Him instead of loving Him.