“You cannot serve both God and money.” This familiar scripture is found in Matthew 6:24. When I first read this verse as a child I have to admit, it didn’t make much sense to me. As a child, my parents provided the things I needed. I didn’t have the responsibility of putting food on the table or other things of that magnitude…power bills, college tuition, water bills, medical bills, etc. As I have come to the end of the “Front 9” of my life and made the turn, heading well into the Back 9…I have a keener sense of God, money and responsibility.
The Bible, God’s inspired written Word…..transcends all cultures and centuries. It was relevant 2000 years ago and it is relevant today. As I study scripture today I love to study more in-depth the verses or chapters that come before or after certain key or often quoted scriptures…. we have all heard famous scriptures such as Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.” I see this verse in frames on the walls of many homes….there is one in my house. I have seen it on billboards….but many people don’t know the scripture right after it or before it….that would be what I call looking at the context of the scripture.
Many times we can misunderstand scripture….by not reading the whole of scripture….I am not professing to be a Bible scholar…but I am a professing Bible reader and seek to do what it says…which leads me to want to elaborate on the Matthew 6:24 scripture that deals with money.
God knew when He inspired scripture that we all would be tempted to have our focus on money and the security it provides. Money can meet the needs of this life and the desires as well. For me personally this has to be a constant check in my life. I love feeling secure….not having to worry or fret….I have never gone hungry…out of need…I can honestly say I do not know what that is like…I am thankful…but I have worried and fretted over bills and such.
The very next verse after Matthew 6:24 says this, “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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes……..” God goes on to point out how birds don’t have to worry about food….He provides. If he sees fit to provide for birds, wouldn’t He provide even more for us?
There are so many layers to scripture. By that I mean, you can read the same passage 10 times and walk away with new points, deep meaning and new reflections each time. It makes scripture fresh each time we read it.
Let me encourage you today to peel back some new layers of scripture…when reading scripture, or if you have favorite verses, go to God’s Word and read the scripture before and after that verse or verses and look for new revelation and understanding… pray for God to reveal Himself and His Word to you…
For example, in this particular passage in Matthew chapter 6, if you only read verse 24, you may not get the full picture. But if you read it in context you see that God wants us to understand that He provides direction and comfort on how NOT to allow ourselves to be slaves to money and how to trust Him instead. Much of scripture tells us we should work and do our created purpose and part, but He also guarantees to do His part. Often times though we fail to do our part! God doesn’t lie….He is a promise keeper and provider….He wants us to rely on Him and not our own self…..so that He can demonstrate who He is! We miss much of this when we read things out of context.
As I apply Matthew 6 once again….many times in my life, now that I have made “the turn” and have headed to the Back 9 of life….I see that my need was there….so that I could see God and His provision in my life. His desire was for me not to worry but to obey…all of scripture…repent when I didn’t fully obey and trust HIM……This is deep stuff….but it is also easy….to apply God’s Word and watch God move…He always does….we just have to make sure we do our part…and understand His ways are perfect and not rely on our limited understanding.
Don’t let your Bible reading be just about a few well-known scriptures. Go deep…..go long….watch God work in your life in new ways.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”