The following is a guest post from Dana of Mrs. Moneysaver. Dana’s mission in life is to love God and love people. Helping others do more with less is one way Dana hopes to serve and show love to those in her community and nationwide.
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” –Luke 16:10-13
Jesus was directing his message to two contrasting social groups. First, he was directly speaking to his disciples, a group of ragtag villagers and fishermen who had very little. And secondly, he was addressing the Pharisees, a group of the educated, wealthy and elite. Jesus had a similar message for both, a message that will benefit us these two thousand years later should we choose to listen.
His message- the love of money is slavery.
As Jesus illustrates the portrait of the dishonest man and his money, notice that he compares the dishonesty to slavery. Like a cruel taskmaster, the man’s love of money becomes master and forces him into a hatred of God.
What can we learn from this parable?
Money, possessions, wealth—these things are not wrong in and of themselves. This bears repeating. Having (lots and lots of) money isn’t wrong! It’s the love of money that is wrong.
We know we love money when it takes control over our lives. When we disobey God’s will in order to get it (or save it), we’re giving money the control in our lives. And we’re allowing money to become our master. And here’s the thing:
If money is your master, there is no room for Christ as Master.
What about those of us who are journeying toward a more frugal lifestyle? Those of us who are striving to be good stewards of the monetary wealth God has given? What could Christ be saying to us in Luke 16?
Are we so consumed with saving a buck (or even a quarter) that we would sacrifice our honesty to do so? If so, then we are being slaves to money. We are turning away from what God desires for us to do as we seek after money. If you are trying to live frugally, being a slave to money may look much different than many in the world. They may be chasing after money by working long hours and buying expensive cars. But you may be rationalizing your own way of monetary slavery.
How could you possibly become a slave to money while trying to be frugal?
If money becomes an idol in our lives in any way, it’s sin. The idol worship of it may differ- from saving money to spending money- but it’s sin nonetheless. God commands us to have no other Gods besides Him. (Exodus 20:3) If my focus is on my frugal lifestyle rather than the Lord, I have set up an idol in my life. I need to remember to consistently ask for God’s grace in not becoming consumed by money saving.
If we have set up the idol of frugal living in our lives, we may be led to do dishonest (sinful) things in the pursuit of our idol. Have you ever read the fine print on coupons? Or on a drugstore customer rewards card application? The legal stuff. The rules. The “contract” details, if you will, that dictate the agreement we enter into with the company by way of our signature or decision to take part in a program. This fine print calls us to an honest use of the coupon or rewards card.
For example, a drugstore rewards program might limit you to one card per person or household. It would be dishonest to acquire multiple cards for your use. Or perhaps an internet coupon for a free product says limit one print per customer in the fine print. To print many copies and use them to get loads of free stuff would be dishonest as well.
Our government’s laws require us to obey the wishes of the companies in their legal fine print, not find a way around them. And God asks that we obey the laws in our country. (See Romans 13:1-5.)
Don’t know or understand the fine print? Ask the company! I’m sure they would appreciate your honesty as well.
Of course, our God is a loving and forgiving God. And He cares most about our hearts. If you unknowingly disobey a store’s rules, He knows your motivation and heart, so find peace in that truth.
Perhaps we should all take some time today to ask God to show us what we are a slave to. Am I a slave to money? Or to our Lord? I must seek His heart in learning the best ways I can live a frugal life and honor God with my finances.
If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading “I Married a Couponaholic”, by Dana’s hubby, I highly recommend it. Not only is he supportive of Dana’s frugal ways, the man can write!