This morning we continue our series entitled “Leveling Up with the Word!” We have been looking at the parable of the sower. Let’s get back to it today.
Setting the stage:
(Mark 4:13-20 ERV)
“The farmer is like someone who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. That is like some people who hear the teaching of God. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.
Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching, and they quickly and gladly accept it. But they don’t allow it to go deep into their lives. They keep it only for a short time. As soon as trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they give up.
Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want. This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.
And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
Yesterday I focused on the words “the love of money.” The King James Version calls it “the deceitfulness of riches.” That’s what I will talk about today. Pursuing money over pursuing God proves to be a deceitful pursuit.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. The love of money is deceitful.
— There is nothing wrong with money itself. I can show you lots of Biblical examples of where the Lord made people rich. The Bible even teaches us that “money answers all things in this world” (Ecc 10:19). So money is not bad. What Jesus warned us against in this parable is the “love” of money. Pau said, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim 6:10). The issue is not the money. The issue is your heart!
— Jesus teaches that when your heart is not pure concerning money, and you wind up pursuing money over pursuing God, you will find it is not worth it in the end.
— The endless pursuit of money often causes people to wind up with the money, but only to realize that they have lost everything else along the way. Many lose their families, their integrity, and even their health in a tireless pursuit of money.
— Jesus once asked the question, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Mat 16:26). What good will the money be if you lose everything that matters to get it?
2. Money will not give you what only God can.
— I grew up on welfare. I hated buying food with food stamps. I know what it is like to know that you don’t have much and to dream about having an abundance someday. As kids in Brooklyn, we had had dreams of someday having money. But the danger really comes inside those who make money the most important pursuit of their lives, only to get it and then realize that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. To be clear, having money is much better than not having it, but my point is that money cannot fill the hole in your heart.
— We were all born with a void in our hearts that was created when God removed the Holy Spirit from Adam in the Garden of Eden. Many people try to fill that hole with money, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, and other things. But the hole can only be filled by the agent who created the hole with His absence, the Holy Spirit Himself. Once you are Born-Again, the Holy Spirit can give you the peace you have been searching for all your life. Embracing this peace, and resting in it, is critical. Because if you don’t, you run the risk of making your life “full of other things,” as Jesus said in the parable.
— One of the reasons you hear of billionaires battling depression or celebrities committing suicide is because they spent their entire lives pursuing something they thought was going to fill the void in their hearts. They did all of this only to attain what they thought was going to give them satisfaction, only to realize that the hole is still there. In this way, the pursuit of money is deceitful. It cannot give you what only God can give you!
— Other may not be at the point where they want to take their lives, but since they pursued money above all else, they were willing to do whatever they thought they needed to do along the way. People who live this way compromise their integrity in pursuit of money. This is a major problem because whatever you compromise to get, you will have to compromise to keep! This leads to a tremendous loss of peace. It’s hard to be at peace when you are not being true yourself. When you walk in integrity, on the other hand, you can sleep well at night, knowing that you are being true to the man/woman God called you to be!
— The last thing I will say on this point is simply that “it” is not worth it. If you pursue God instead of pursuing money, God will see to it that your every need will be met in abundance! Not only that, but you will have peace in your heart and rest in your soul.
3. Don’t put your trust in money; put your trust in God.
Solomon, who was both the wisest and richest man of his day, said, “Those who trust in their riches will fall like dead leaves, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer” (Prov 11:28). In Mark 4:19, a scripture we have been studying over and over again, Jesus said, “The people who are like thorny ground receive the Word, but “The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, choke the word, making it unfruitful.” One of the definitions for the word “deceitful” includes the word “untrustworthy.” That’s really the message behind Solomon’s teaching. His point is a point about trust. Solomon was a billionaire, and he taught us NOT to trust in riches. He does not cut any corners either. Solomon plainly states that those who trust in their riches will fall like dead leaves. These are leaves that were once green, full, and flourishing, but after a change of season, the leaves dried up, changed colors, and eventually fell. Solomon then contrasts that image with the image of the righteous, who will prosper like the leaves of summer.
4. You must make your choice between serving God and serving money.
If you have a proper relationship with money, God can give you loads of it. But He just does not want you to put your trust in it. If your trust is in your wealth and not in God, then your wealth has become your god. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Mat 6:24). You can either put your trust in God, honor Him with your finances, and do whatever He tells you to do with the money He places in your hands, or you can pursue money and make money the focal point of your life. If you do, you will quickly find out that you don’t like that scenario. Money makes an excellent servant but a poor master. Let money serve you, don’t serve it! If you serve it, you will wind up deceived and disappointed.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP by bringing my life into focus and by making You my #1 priority. This also includes making You my #1 priority where my finances are concerned. I don’t love money; I love You. I don’t pursue money; I pursue You. I don’t place my trust in money; I place my trust in You. By maintaining my focus, I position myself to receive Your best. You can bless me financially because I am focused on doing whatever You tell me to do with the money You place in my hands. Living this way, I never have a fear of running out. I live every day with faith in running over, and I get to LEVEL UP DAILY! This is why I boldly declare that GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.