A rapper that I like (Bizzle) has a recurring theme in his songs that is “God over money”.  For example, one of his lyrics is “Will you serve a living God or a dead president?” And then from my favorite song:

First im a hater cuz I’m broke and my money low

Find out I made a couple hundred on the low

They be like so I thought it was God Over Money though
Hated when I’m paid hated when I’m broke
They hating on my faith hating on my folks
See em drown in the middle of the ocean
When you pull up they be hating on yo boat”
My point, you ask? 

Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. – Proverbs 22:16 ESV

Are we interested in what the Word of God has to say about money, the poor, etc? Can we hear what that call, that conviction is meant to tear us away from and draw us closer to? Is that surrender a difficult struggle for us or a joyful participation? 

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6‭-‬7 ESV

Oh, how the world gets this backwards. We can more easily justify helping those who can offer us some help in return, as opposed to trusting the LORD to repay us for serving those who in this life  may likely never be in a position to appreciate or honor us. We are even given the wise advice to give our alms in secret so that we wouldn’t be seeking honor or glory for ourselves – because we are to be seeking glory to God in all things. 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that he may be glorified.  They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;  but you shall be called the priests of the Lord ; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast.  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.  For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.  Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord ; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:1‭-‬11 ESV

Money, Sex, and God

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.  Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
Hebrews 13:1‭-‬6

God of my heart and Lord of my desire: money and sex are powerfully good gifts from you, yet both can become dangerous idols. Order my heart and discipline my desires so that money and sex have their pepper place. May the affections of my heart never run contrary to any of your commandments, but may your love be my greatest treasure. In Christ’s name, amen. (HC 113)

Do we desire the things that God can give us,  or do we desire His Spirit ever more alive and present in our daily lives as we grow glory by glory closer to our Heavenly Father? If we have this perspective backwards, if we cry out for prosperity in this world instead of crying out for God alive in us,  those same “things” can quickly become a curse instead of a blessing.

Money and wealth placed in the hands of a selfish man can lead him into all kinds of dangerous traps where he becomes an oppressor and a hindrance to his brothers and sisters.  But when it is placed into the hands of the faithful,  it can be a blessing for him,  his family,  his friends, and even to the strangers that he entertains and serves lovingly.

Sex brought to the awareness of an immoral man can lead him into all kinds of traps and soul ties with immoral women, to children not provided for physically or spiritually, to diseases and depression and all kinds of wrong thinking about the value of people and marriage. But sex in the hands of a godly and righteous man who loves the Lord will produce an abundant family of children who are brought up to be nourished both physically and spiritually, who will be a benefit and not a drain on those around them and their community.

And it comes down to the type of prosperity that is being sought after – do we seek things for ourselves, or do we seek God to offer ourselves?

Many, Lord , are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord , make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:6‭-‬8 NIV

My 5 year old, “Money makes your hands stink”

My daughter’s devotional verse this morning was from:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls.  When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!
Matthew 13:44-46 NLT

Her immediate response was,  “Money makes your hands stink. It makes your hands stink like money.”

And isn’t there such a deep truth in that statement?

And the longer that I hold it in my hand,  doesn’t the smell of it,  the stench of it rub off on me?

This reminded me of :

Matthew 6:24
No one 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.

So we should ask ourselves,  what is master over my life? What am I clinging to the hardest? 

What do I truly desire most in my heart?

I also see the parallel in understanding that we will become more and more like whatever is matter over us, like whatever is teaching and guiding us along our path.

Luke 6:40
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

What does my life “smell like”?

Doesn’t the “smell” of my life over time give off a clear indication of my master,  of my heart, of my underlying desires?

And this question of desire is important, because the Lord has given us a promise:

Psalm 20:4
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

I just wonder –

How many are there whose heart’s true desires are the very things that will send them to destruction?

Proverbs 16:25
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 21:2
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

What do I want my life to “smell like”?

God tells us what He “smells like”:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

May your life be so anointed with the presence of your master that His smell,  His scent is clearly recognizable – both to you and to others around you. And if you discover that you are serving the wrong master,  may you find Hope, Faith and Love in finding the narrow gate that is open to you through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior and choosing to walk the narrow path of following in His footsteps. Amen.