By Bolaji Olawoye
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also”
What God battles for is not the presence of, or the abundance of life’s necessities, but for your heart. What masters your heart masters your life – in its entirety!
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches)”
Life is in this way: You either run with a purpose in heart and a vision in goal OR the tidal waves of the world will wash you along, dumping you in the trench of financial & social circumstances and you will continue trying to keep-up.
Why would Jesus call mammon (or riches) a potential master? It is simply because it has the power to become one! The (necessary) cares & worries of this world are potent enough to master a man’s heart.
According to Ecclesiastes 10:19, all the physical cares of the world are solved by one thing – money! Mammon is a master because you will continues to need it to satisfy ephemeral necessities until you learn the secrets of the Kingdom. The question is not whether we need money, we do! Neither is it how to get more money, as that might arouse greed and worry, leading to the trap of the devil. The concern usually is, “how we get those things that money answers?”
“…Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?” or ‘Shall we not drive cars?’ or ‘Shall we not work?’ “For after all these things, the Gentiles (the unbelieving, the ungodly) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Notwithstanding) … seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you!”
The scriptures above (and their interpretations) reveal the balance Jesus strikes, between your needs and His provision for them. He reassures that God knows you need these things, but He does not want you to live life, seeking to lay hold of these necessities because He has His own means of making them available. What Jesus recommends is that you seek God’s Kingdom. In it you will find mastery over finances, and then you will not have to worship mammon. God’s kingdom is within you. It is the sphere of dominion of God’s nature, His power & His principles of life. You will find these things in the Bible and as the Holy Spirit leads you into all truth.
Live life, avoiding the snare of excessively accumulating money and material possessions for personal use!
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and to many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction & perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”
Let me paint you a picture of what Jesus is saying, the way I understand it:
Most adults that are responsible for fending-for or taking care of themselves are daily in pursuit of riches, without even knowing it. If you are not a working-class adult, you might be used to collecting allowance from someone else as a typical youth. When you start working, you might start seeking after mammon unconsciously! Certain challenges arise; you need an accommodation – you need money; you need a car – you need money; you have a fiancé/fiancée – you need money; your parents deserve some spoiling – you need money; you need clothing, feeding, etc – you need money!
Fear and insecurity mounts and the accumulation of money and material wealth seems to be a necessary pursuit! At some point, some of the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” spiritual teaching start meaning less.
You then discover you need a good-paying job (or a change to one); you hustle a bit, God is merciful and you get one. However, there are usually two (2) types of jobs employees get. One that pays well with little time for other things in life OR the type that gives you ample time for other things but pays little.
For the well paying job, you wake up early, work till late, for at least 39 hours a week! You might be involved in some church work, at least so you do not loose the zeal for spiritual service. But perhaps you are serving someone else and spending less of your time digging into God, spending time with your family and bearing more fruit in the things that God has deposited into you.
For the not well paying job, some use the free time profitably in Kingdom service but with tight financial situations. Other less godly ones use the time to hustle and ‘breakthrough’.
If you get married and raise a family under these conditions, the situation most likely gets complicated. There is an increased demand for your time and money. Then you realise that you need more money to make ends meet. There might now be less time for paying attention to God’s voice or His word. This might continue for a long time. Life is continually spent trying to make ends meet; man must survive; your family must feed, kids must to go school’. Though there will be the good times, but life essentially becomes the pursuit of its necessities.
Everything is now a pursuit of money, because truly, “…money answers everything”. However, you will never have fulfilment in it because you do not use life doing what you were built for, what you are talented in doing. What everybody is doing may seem necessary but it is certainly not God’s initial purpose and design.
However, it is always a nobler thing to walk in the fullness of God’s perfect purpose and design – to seek His Kingdom.
Seeking the Kingdom of God
God’s Kingdom is not some external religious structure:
“The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” It is the operation of a system that obtains in Heaven – God’s dwelling place, being manifested here on earth within adopted kingdom sons. It is a spiritual reality that is in our lives and over our affairs. It is not the denial of our existence on earth but living on earth within the spiritual sphere of heavenly principles. Seeking the kingdom is living a life subjected to- and manifesting the principles of God’s kingdom.
Principles of the Kingdom of God
These are the principles by which Abraham lived: his faith relationship with God and his demonstration of earthly reign. Jacob prophesied, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet.” Paul taught, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…” John declared, “And (Jesus) has made us kings and priests to His God and Father”
Notice the lifestyle of Abraham: He was a great worshiper and friend of God and he reigned on earth. Christ is the Seed of Abraham and so are we, living with the same principles that were passed to Judah by prophecy and down to Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It is a Kingdom of kings and priests – of worship within and dominion without. You worship like a priest, you rule like a king. It is a kingdom of the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. It is a duo-principled kingdom of the nature and power of God. His nature is His Person – He is Love. His power is His Dominion, His Glory and His Creativity. A daily passion and walk in these principles is seeking after His kingdom.
Wherever you are placed in life, God must be able to manifest His love and His power to the world through you! Every God-inspired and God-provided employment, service or entrepreneurial endeavour that will allow you to fully live in the fullness of your natural gifting and spiritual calling will be truly seeking His Kingdom.
In addition to these, you will also need to find out what provisions God has made in His Word for your financial freedom and abundance.
 Matthew 6:19-21;  Matthew 6:24;  Matthew 6:31;  Matthew 6:32-33 (with author’s emphasis & non-quotations);  1 Timothy 6:9-10;  Matthew 6:33;  Ecclesiastes 10:19;  Luke 17:20-21;  I acknowledge some insight provided by the article (THE KINGDOM OF GOD by Jack W. Hayford) Spirit-Filled Life® Bible, © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.;  Genesis 49:10;  1 Peter 2:9;  Revelations 1:6 (with author’s emphasis);  Galatians 3:29