Money—Your Obedient Servant
“BETWEEN 1968 and 1986 the proportion of adults in Great Britain with a building society savings account rose from 15% to 64%,” reported the Glasgow Herald. In contrast, the paper observed: “The number of people who belong to a Christian Church has fallen.”
Money, or Mammon, has long been considered to be in opposition to God, no doubt because of Jesus’ words: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”—Matthew 6:24, King James Version.
At the same time, however, the Bible says, “Money is for a protection.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12) Or as a person in modern times put it, “Money speaks sense in a language all nations understand.”
But how can we see to it that money benefits rather than dominates us?
Content With Essentials for Life
The above are essentials. You need them to be happy. As the Bible says: “So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” You really do not need any more. “For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.”—1 Timothy 6:7, 8.
However, what if the money you earn is not sufficient to provide you with what you consider to be necessities? Then you may contemplate a move to an area where your wages will cover your needs. But here is where you need to evaluate the situation honestly and carefully, for God’s Word goes on to warn: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.”—1 Timothy 6:9.
Wisely heed this warning! Listen to the Christian apostle Paul who urged, “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money.” (Hebrews 13:5) Examine yourself, asking: ‘Am I content with just the essentials? Or do I yearn for luxuries?’
True, money can provide enjoyable extras. “Bread is for the laughter of the workers, and wine itself makes life rejoice,” the Bible says, “but money is what meets a response in all things.” Yet, the extras that money can buy are not essential to true happiness.—Ecclesiastes 10:19.
What, then, can you do to keep money in its proper place, as a servant? It is vital to live within one’s means. For example, Liz, mentioned earlier, says: “I now realize that the source of my family’s problems when I was a child was poor money management. We purchased on credit, and therefore we always had a debt hanging over our heads. This brought anxiety.”
You will, of course, need to reckon carefully just what money you have available. On receipt of your income, first set aside money to pay for the essentials. In this way, your money will be a protective servant, as Ecclesiastes 7:12 says it can be.
Reasonable foresight is a necessary part of good money management. Set aside the amounts needed to care for coming expenses. But, remember, an obsessive concern for a monetarily secure future is really a damaging form of materialism.
Remember, too, that some of the money you have may not really be yours. Do you recall when Jesus was asked about the matter of paying taxes? He requested a coin and inquired, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
“Caesar’s,” was the answer.
“Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar,” Jesus replied.
Thus, duly constituted governments rightly demand tax money in payment for such services as health care, education, and transportation facilities. If you desire God’s favor, then you are under obligation to pay the prescribed amount demanded for taxes.—Mark 12:13-17.
Besides food, clothing, and shelter, there is another essential that we cannot neglect without causing ourselves serious problems. Can you determine what this essential is from these words of Jesus: “Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches, so that, when such fail, they may receive you into the everlasting dwelling places”?—Luke 16:9.
Riches do fail. Of that many of us are well aware as we find the purchasing power of our money eaten away by inflation. So, then, as long as we are alive, we will want to use our money in a way that will make friends of those who can receive us into “everlasting dwelling places.” Who are these benefactors?
Jesus Christ himself gave the answer when he said in prayer: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, if we want life beyond our present short, trouble-filled existence, it is absolutely essential that we become friends of our Creator, Jehovah God, and his Son, Jesus.
But, you ask, how can I do this? What will it cost me? Will this bring real happiness?
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Jesus’ teaching ‘to pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar’ places a responsibility on us today