Money is something that we can own or something that can own us. Money can help us acquire our wants and needs; it can also keep us from our wants and needs. The same money that can buy us a vacation with family can steal us from our family in the pursuit of it. Money is both a blessing and a curse for all human beings. It is a necessity and a poison. I think the root issue is who owns who. Do you own money or does money own you?
"While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly.
'Leave her alone,' said Jesus. 'Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, whenever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Matthew 14:3-9
This woman own an expensive thing, but the expensive thing didn't own her. She may have worked for a year to earn enough money to get that perfume, but she wouldn't let that stop her from extravagantly worship Jesus while He was there to be worshipped. While others were captured by the value of the money, she was captured by the value of Jesus. To read more on this passage you can take a look at this post from last year.
"Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over." Matthew 14:10-11
Judas was owned by money. In another place in the Gospels it is said that Judas was in charge of the money when Jesus and His disciples traveled and Judas would dip his hand in the money jar. Judas worshipped money more than Jesus. Judas was willing to kill Jesus for money. This is remarkable. If any person says, "I'd follow Jesus if I saw Him in person and saw all of His miracles" I can tell you they would not. Many saw Jesus and didn't believe, because seeing Jesus isn't enough. You must see Jesus as immensely valuable and worthy of eternal worship. Judas saw Jesus and in the end chose to worship money instead. Judas was owned by money.
"As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 'I tell you the truth,' He said, 'this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'" Luke 21:1-4
This poor woman owned money but was not owned by money. The others gave out of their wealth, but she gave all she had. Maybe the others were tithing or were giving more than a tithe. Jesus didn't care because He saw that they put their trust in their money and gave when it was comfortable. Not the poor woman; she gave when it wasn't easy because she had something that they didn't... she had the power over her money. To this woman money wasn't her god, her source of security and joy. Are you like that or do you only let go of your money when you know it's safe?
Money is either something we own or something that owns us. That is why I think giving is so important. By giving to our local church and charities or wherever we see a need, we say that we own money and that money doesn't own us. Hold on to money loosely or it will hold fast to you. Cling to money and it will cling to you all the way to the grave.
So, how are you making sure the money you own doesn't own you? When's the last time you gave as an act of extravagant worship? When's the last time you gave when things were tight financially? When is the last time you didn't pray for money but prayed that God would give you what you need to survive and that He would keep you from having more than you could handle?
"... give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God." Proverbs 3:8b-9
Don't let money own you, rather own your money today.