Rick Warren: Will You Serve God or Money?

How can you escape the clutches of materialism?
How can you escape the clutches of materialism? (Flickr )

"No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matt. 6:24).

Would you agree that we live in a culture of materialism? It's like the goal is to get more and more and more. And just about the time you catch up with the Joneses, they refinance or file bankruptcy. And just about the time you think you've got it all, the Christmas advertisements come out, and they tell you about all kinds of things you didn't know you couldn't live without.

It's tough keeping your priorities right when you live in a society that's all about "getting." The one with the most toys wins, right? No! The one with the most toys still dies, whether or not you've got toys.

There is only one antidote to materialism: generosity. Every time you're generous, you have a spiritual victory in your heart. Every time you're generous, your heart grows. Every time you're generous, you break the grip of materialism in your life. Why? Because materialism is all about getting—get, get, get, get! It is your nature to get and to hold on. God says every time you're generous, you are breaking that grip and defeating materialism in your life.

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By the way, that's why if you're a parent you need to have your kids watch you giving. They need to see you being generous, because they're not going to learn it anywhere else. Make sure they see you model generosity so that they can learn it, too.

The Bible says in Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Notice it doesn't say you "should not." It says you "cannot." It's impossible. You can't have two number ones in your life. You have to choose what's going to be number one.

Choose generosity. It will transform your relationships with other people and your relationship with God. It will change you from the inside out as you learn to be generous like God is generous with you.

Talk It Over

  • To what part of your finances have you become a slave?
  • How can you model generosity and humility at the same time to your kids?
  • In what ways has God been generous with you?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit rickwarren.org.

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