No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:24 CEB)
Abraham Lincoln was quoting Jesus when he said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. As we examine where our treasure lies (our money, time, and energy), we must look at our hearts. Do we have undivided hearts, or are we torn apart by too many obligations and masters? We are first called to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength; then, when God is in the proper place in our hearts, the other things in our lives fall into place. God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14) who wants not just a piece of our hearts but all of us.
As a student working full-time to earn a graduate degree and raising a family, I struggled to find time to devote to God. I would sometimes feel resentment towards school or my job for not allowing me to do the things that I felt God wanted me to do with the church. I would even feel torn between my family and my other commitments. Looking back, I now realize that I failed to recognize that God had put these other commitments in my life so that He could use me to do His will. In other words, God really wanted me to concentrate on being the best student, statistician, father, and husband that I possibly could. It was in His plan for my life. God's grace has provided me with a degree and an occupation that now enables me to give back to the church and others to build His kingdom.
Learn from my mistake. You don't have to feel torn between God and the many obligations in your life. It is not a sin to have other obligations or use your time on things that are not obviously related to God. I don't even think that Jesus is saying that it is a sin to have wealth in this scriptural passage from Matthew 6:24. However, we do have to make sure that we are serving God as the master of our lives. That is, we have to make sure that we use our time, energy, and wealth according to how God wants us to use these precious and limited resources.
We learn God's will for our life through prayer and Bible study. It is also vitally important for those who long to be disciples Christ to be actively engaged in a faith community. These faith communities are where Christians encourage and support each other in the process of becoming stronger disciples of Christ. I'm thankful for the strong faith community at College Park United Methodist Church!