Yesterday we looked at what it means for us to give to God what is God’s. In today's reading, we are introduced to the challenge of the idol of greed through the lens of our active participation in being faithful to God as sovereign Lord and master.
In the further reflection and discussion material that you will find on our website for last weeks sermon, I refer people to the song by Bob Dylan “Yo gotta serve somebody”. This gospel song passionately urges people to see that in life our choices do matter and this ‘thesis’ comes directly from the mouth of Jesus. ‘No one can serve two masters … you cannot serve both God and money” (vs 24) This is a very sobering reminder about the strangle hold that money and possessions can have on followers of Jesus and in the context of the gospel of Matthew, this teaching of Jesus comes at the commencement of the disciples three year internship with the master. Amidst this teaching given them Jesus lays out a central truth; Choose today whom or what you will serve.
Some recent research has offered the view that professed followers of Christ are in possession of 68%of the worlds income, yet only 3% of that goes to the church, and much less to global mission. When there are deep needs across the face of the world, why is it that Christians have so much at their disposal yet release so very little – could it be that there is more worshiping of the idol of greed than we care to acknowledge?
Biblical scholar, Craig Blomberg has written that “Many perceptive observers have sensed that the greatest danger to western Christianity is not, as is sometimes alleged, prevailing ideologies such as Marxism, Islam, the New Age movement or humanism but rather the all-pervasive materialism of our affluent culture”. You cannot serve both God and money.