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How Do I Know If I’m Idolizing Wealth?

Money Matters


In Matthew 19, a rich man approaches Jesus and tells Him that he has kept all the commandments of the law and asks if this is enough to earn eternal life. Although this man believed that he had never sinned, Jesus knows this is not true and challenges him to “sell what you possess and give to the poor….and come follow me” (Matthew 19:21 ESV).  

What Jesus saw in this man was that he was breaking the commandment against idolatry by worshipping his wealth instead of God. Jesus invites the man to turn from his idolatry and follow Jesus instead. The rich man instantly realizes he cannot do this because he loves his possessions too much and so he simply walks away.  

We may look down on the rich man for his idolatry of wealth, but the truth is that many of us are guilty of the same thing. Whether we consider ourselves rich or not, we can fall into the trap of worshipping possessions and money. It can creep into our lives slowly and eventually become the main driving force behind everything we do. Even if we are doing other “good things” like the rich man was doing, we can still be sinning in our hearts by worshipping something besides God. Jesus reminds us in this story that what matters is the attitude of our hearts, not just our external behavior. Unfortunately, idolatry can be hard to notice because it is a matter of the heart. So how do you know if you are idolizing money and possessions? I’d encourage you to begin searching your heart by asking yourself these four questions. 

1. Do you regularly dream about having more or are you satisfied with what you have?

2. Do you joyfully give to God and others as He leads, or do you tend to make excuses and put off giving?

3. Do you feel a twinge of jealousy when others get something you don’t have, or are you able to celebrate and enjoy their happiness?

4. Do you often worry about losing what you have, or do you trust God to be your provider in all circumstances? 

Following Jesus means leaving behind every idol and directing all our worship, trust and love to God alone. It means obeying Him and being willing to do whatever He calls us to do with our wealth. We may forget it at times, but Jesus is worthy of all our devotion, love, and praise. Following Him is a great adventure that is so much more fulfilling than amassing wealth for ourselves. May each of us leave behind the idol of wealth and follow Jesus with our whole heart.   

David Hinshaw-David Hinshaw, Wealth Management Certified Professional® Advisor, OneAscent, 205-313-9142

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