Ugh. That’s the thought that came to mind as I read Matthew 6:24-34 for the umpteenth time. It never ceases to amaze me how we can read the same verses of scriptures our entire lives, and then one day it hits you in a new—and sometimes unpleasant—way.
Lately, God has been pricking my heart about the business I started. I began this endeavor in obedience, as an act of faith after fear had stopped me for years. But quickly, too quickly, it became less about obedience and more about how I could earn a living. I have bills to pay, and it’s my job to find a legitimate way to pay them. There’s nothing wrong with that statement, however, I often feel like I am trying to please two masters: God and money.
Jesus is clear in the scripture passage referenced above that we cannot serve both.
In my Bible, verses 24 and 25 are separated by different headings, but I wish they weren’t. If you read them without a break (as would have been the case with the original letter) it would read as follows: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” The implication here is that since we can’t serve both, choose God. Later in the passage, Jesus tells us that God knows we need basic necessities; we don’t have to worry about those things. We need only concern ourselves with serving Him while we do the work He has set before us.
This is a difficult concept for a person like me to grasp. I like control. I like knowing I did something to ensure a particular result. Yet God wants me to trust Him to meet my most basic needs and keep my focus on serving Him—on seeking His kingdom first, not mine. Ugh. Why is this so incredibly difficult to do? Why am I so worried about where the money is coming from if He says He’ll meet my needs?
Because I don’t always trust Him—at least not at first. Whenever I encounter a new situation, I find it hard to leave it to God. When I don’t yet know how things work, or how they’ll turn out, I dig deep within myself to find an answer. I love having answers. I love research, trial and error, and the process of troubleshooting to figure things out.
When I finally start to grasp a bit of what God is trying to teach me, I usually hit my next phase: selfish, easy answers. “This is what you want me to do? So, if I do this, you’ll bless me?” Those thoughts make me feel gross. I’m still focused only on outcomes at that point; my motivation is not what it should be. I’ve begun to understand what it is God wants me to do—or stop doing—but with the end result of getting what I want.
It’s going to be through humility, prayer, and submission that heart change comes.
I wish there were a simple solution for this, but as I’ve discussed before, there are no formulas with God. There’s no one-size-fits-all process to work through this. It’s going to be through humility, prayer, and submission that heart change comes. I want to carry out my calling, but I want to do it by seeking God’s kingdom first. I am doing the first part of what I’m supposed to do—I’m working—but I’m not trusting God to give the increase. It’s hard being human.
The funny thing is, the times I have gotten sales have been either when I was at church, or when I was sleeping. When my striving ceased, that’s when God showed up. I had done the work, but I wasn’t in a position to worry about the result. He doesn’t need my help for the results; He only wants me to be faithful in the work. He takes care of the birds in the air and the flowers of the field, and He’ll take care of me too.