You’ve probably seen a meme like this somewhere on social media. “My mind says that I want a firm body, but my eyes see those donuts.” We all would like to be nice, fit, and healthy but we keep running past donut shops or, in South Texas, taco stands and our will power fades. It’s amazing how often we have choices to make like that. We seem to want two contradictory things and we just can’t figure out why we can’t have both. Those two choices usually involve one thing that would universally be recognized as good and one thing that would cater towards a weakness. Unfortunately, if you are like me, indulging the weakness usually wins out.
I think of that as I look at many of the pastors who are making lots of money and indulging themselves with it. I doubt that any of them went into the ministry for the money. Here’s a hint for anyone exploring God’s call to ministry – don’t go into it for the money. While I am happy to see ministers gain success and recognition, I often wonder if it is at the expense of their call from God. As their preaching evolves, we no longer hear the prophetic call to be right with God; we hear many mixed messages. In church recently someone talked about one of those ministers and, in an attempt to compliment him, noted that he was a great motivational speaker. Let that sink in. Jesus talked about the problem when He reminded us that “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.” (Luke 16:13)
We take pride in our freedom as Americans, but ultimately, we have a master. Our master dominates our thoughts and gives us the motivation to be successful. What is it we really want out of life? Our determination to achieve success in that area is what masters us. If our goal is to accumulate material wealth, that is our master. If our goal is to be friends with everyone, that is our master. Our goals master our lives and when our goals become contradictory, we have problems. Everything but our most important goal falls by the wayside. Politicians love power and even though they may originally get elected for the right reasons, we soon see them compromising their beliefs to maintain the power they have achieved. Their ideals slip away. They may have intended to work for their beliefs, but the allure of power has swept them away. We like to call them hypocrites and complain. They aren’t being hypocritical so much as they are dancing to the beat of their new master.
The question for each of us though is who or what will be our master? Will we seek after God with all of our heart, or will we be changed to focus on something else. Jesus used money as an example of a master in conflict with God, but a lot of other things could be used as well: power, fame, success – you name it. Anything that conflicts with our relentless pursuit of God has become a new master. Jesus points out rightly that you can’t serve both masters. God will not take second place to any of the conflicting masters out there. What is it that motivates you? What is it that causes you to do the things that you do? Unless you are motivated to gain a deeper relationship with God and lead others to a deeper relationship with God, you are seeking to serve another master. Seek first the kingdom of God and you will experience true joy in life.
Lord God, how easily I drift away from total commitment to You. I seek what many would call the good life and do so at the expense of my relationship with You. Keep me on the right track. Keep my heart and my mind stayed on You and let my life reflect my total devotion to You as my master.