Can you think of a time you had to choose between having something good in the moment or waiting for something better later? That is one way to look at the choice God gives us, between Himself and money, in Matthew 6:24.
Money, a form of power, is tangible and can get us what we want when we want it. It promises happiness and it appears to be the answer to all of our problems. Money can make us look good, feel good, and give us a sense of security.
Contrast that with God who has us wait on Him, holds us to the fire for purification, humbles us, and asks us to take the high road each and every time. If a person does not value a Christ-like character or cares less about what God thinks than about what others think, he/she is going to find sanctification a very difficult journey and potentially not worth the pain.
When I quit living for the world and started living for Jesus at the age of 25, I had to change my definition of success. I had to stop valuing a job title, money, friends, popularity, and having stuff because they no longer were what I was living for and they no longer made me happy (though they still had a hold on me). A successful day meant that I had spent time with God worshipping Him, listening to Him and learning about Him through His Word. A good day meant I was peaceful in spite of my bank account balance and in spite of how accepted I felt.
The trade-off between chasing money and chasing God is that one is temporary and one is eternal. One gives happiness today and emptiness tomorrow whereas the other gives life today AND life tomorrow. Money will give us what we think we want and God will give us what we need. The pursuit of money and having lots of possessions will steal our time and energy. God wants us to pursue love, help the less fortunate, and be concerned with HIS agenda.
Q: Have you ever wanted something that you didn’t get, but in the end you are glad you didn’t get it? Could it have been God watching out for you? Have you said “thank you” to God?