I don’t mean to scare you, but I think it really is my duty to let you know: There’s a good chance that, unintentionally and totally unknowingly, you have become a slave.
No, I’m not referring to the antebellum South, or to human trafficking or any of the other hot-button issues that come up when we think of slavery. I’m not even talking about the concept of being a “slave to sin,” (though that certainly applies here too). What I am talking about is much more sneaky, stealthy and downright insidious. It’s a kind of slavery that begins to capture parts of your heart and mind slowly, from your early childhood, and can control you all through your adult life if you don’t break free. Learn to recognize the signs, and you’ll begin to see it everywhere — all around us, people have become slaves to
I can hear what you’re thinking: “Some people are greedy and ambitious, but not me. In fact, I have nothing in my wallet right now except for the Washingtons I keep in there for decoration. I pride myself in the fact that I work in a low-pressure, low-pay job, so I’m really not motivated by money. Some people might be slaves to money, but not me.”
Are you sure?
The reason I ask is this — a while back, I discovered (or re-discovered) something profound that Jesus said in Matthew 6:24:
“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.”
In the past, when I’ve read this verse through my Sunday-school lens, I’ve always sort of dismissed it. “Okay, Jesus is saying not to be greedy. I’m good on that point; let’s move on.” But for some reason, when I read the passage again, God really opened my eyes to something new: Implicit in this verse is the concept that money can make slaves of us. And if we’re not careful, the chains it clasps around our ankles can hold us back from loving and serving God like we should.
I realized that morning on my living room couch that there are all sorts of ways that money sneaks into to our lives to enslave us. It’s kind of a scary notion. Even more terrifying to me was the revelation that there were several places in my own life where money had made a slave of me.
Over the next few days, I made a list of all of the different ways that money slips shackles around our hearts. Greed may be at the top of the list, but it’s accompanied by things like debt, poverty, envy, stinginess, discontentment and a host of other bad dudes that crop up in our lives all too easily — even in the lives of Christians.
In upcoming articles, we’ll explore the ways that we fall (not-so-innocently) into these bad habits and bad attitudes, and we’ll learn what God says about how to break free from bondage to money and learn to make our finances work for us, and more importantly, for Him. I hope you’ll join me.