Light Sabers, Bank Accounts, Trust Funds

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:24

The first thing I ever bought with my “own money” was a toy light saber. It wasn’t one of those expensive beauties lit by a bright, polycarbonate tube. My Toys-R-Us light saber was lightweight and plastic. It cost twenty dollars.

I enjoyed using it for mock Jedi fights. But I also remember the distinctive thrill that came from owning that light saber. It was mine; wholly mine, because I purchased it with my own money. I was more attached to that light saber than all my other toys because I bought it. I was proud of it. My light saber made me feel powerful.

Assets give us a sense of control and self-worth. Light sabers, bank accounts, trust funds, homes: these things make us feel secure and free. Every new asset increases our liberty to modify our own little worlds.

But in this section of The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus throws a very practical wrench into our naïve gears. You want to store up treasures on earth? Moths will eat your clothes. Rust will ruin your tools. (I’m sure Jesus had to deal with this frustration all the time in Joseph’s carpentry shop.) Today, he might say something like: “Do you want to store up treasure on Wall Street? The Great Recession will decimate it. In a Porsche? You’ll get in a car crash. In a home? Earthquakes will destroy it, shifting foundation will hurt it, and care and maintenance will cost you time and money.”

In other words: entropy is the real deal. Assets require time, money, and effort to maintain. And that leads Jesus to his second point. These things we “own”? Well, they really own us. They’re our masters.

As Tim Keller puts it: “Money is the chain that binds you to the real things that enslave you.” These things we just have to buy? They’re our masters because we don’t have the power to say “No.”

But when we work for free, we can slice a heavenly light saber through money’s binding chain. We can model our lives after the One who denied asset ownership, who said: “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

And we don’t have to treat God’s favor like another asset that we have to earn. Instead, Christ has already given himself, “the pearl of great price,” for us. Jesus gives us this pearl, free of cost. Christ flipped the logic of the market on its head, literally and figuratively (Matthew 21:12), so that we may choose to make him our master and be inspired to “take up our cross,” too, day after day.

“The Force” may not be with us, but his force can empower us to work for free.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What are some assets that give me a sense of security and control? How can I invite Jesus to help me loosen their mastery over me? What are some practical ways that will help me offer my work as a sacrifice for him, my true master?

PRAYER: Lord, it’s all too easy for me to put my trust in physical things instead of you. Money chains me to these things. They are my masters.

Thank you for sacrificing everything in your Kingdom for me. Thank you for not just being “ripped off,” but ripped open for me. Thank you for your free grace, the only currency that will never be devalued.

Father, teach me to make you my master. Teach me to work for free. Teach me to sacrifice, just like you. Amen.


Working for Free

In this series, Working for Free, we'll take a look at the different ways people navigate the world of working in a job they love, even when it might not be the way they make ends meet. Join the discussion or share your story in the comments. What do you think? Is passion enough?

Featured image above by Natesh Ramasamy. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.