My wife has been lovingly telling me ever since we started dating that money doesn’t mean that much to her. After getting enough to support a couple kids, she doesn’t need much else. She’d even be content if she had to work at McDonald’s or Wal-mart to help us make ends meet if I was working at a job I loved.
Yet somehow, I struggle to get it through my thick skull that she’s serious, that my value to her isn’t based on our bank account or the home we live in. I believe God has called me to write, yet my efforts to further my writing, either via writing / editing my books or promoting them, have stalled for the better part of a year. Even when I was working on them, there was an element of me that wanted money and honor; sometimes, I wanted these less than I wanted God’s glory, but usually, it was more. The fact that I was concerned about money and honor at all, though, shows how unprepared I was for God to bless my efforts.
God will not bless your efforts for you, only your efforts for Him.
Instead of God, gold, and glory, I need to separate it out to God or gold and glory. “No man can serve two masters,” as Matthew 6:24 tells us. We can’t truly be concerned with God’s work if we’re doing it to provide for ourselves or increase our own value in any way.
There’s a story that hunters used to trap monkeys by putting an apple in a glass jar and then tying a rope to the jar. A monkey could just get its hand in, but when it tried to pull out the apple, it would get stuck. It could have easily let go of the apple, but refused to, even when it was being led away. It was essentially choosing a short-term prize over freedom. And that’s very similar to what we do when we chase after money or the next relationship or anything else in which we put our value. We give up our freedom for something that doesn’t last because…
We voluntarily enslave ourselves to anyone from whom we derive a sense of self-worth.
I have the same choice you do: whether to choose myself or God. The mind says God, but the heart is infinitely stubborn. I have to silence it, with God’s help, and press on to serve Him, forsaking my obsession with money, with glory, with anything else that is not furthering His will and glorifying to Him. If He gives me money, fine, but I cannot be seeking it and Him at the same time. I need to let go of the apple.