Updated: Mar 2
By Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline
Our Lenten journey begins, and with it comes our new sermon series on the ten commandments. Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to learn about the first two commandments from Exodus 20:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments."
The first two commandments boil down to this – God comes first.
Also in worship we read Matthew 6:25-34, but I want to read the verse that comes right before that. Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
When it comes to most things, one can “follow the money." I think that when you get to the root of the idolatry in our culture, that this is a good place to start as well.
Why do we make idols of our jobs? Because we need to make money.
Why do we make idols of our screens? Because they want to sell us something and make their product as addictive as possible.
Why do we make idols of our stuff? Because the more stuff we buy, the higher our status, and the more money we’re perceived as having.
And the worst part of the idolatry of money is the awful ripple effects it has on people.
Think about the ways in which the tech companies have idolized money. In pursuit of their fortune they created a product that is designed to maximize profits through generating controversy, overuse, and prominence. Because these companies seek to idolize money, they create something designed to be idolized. They push their drive for money down to us, and in doing so make something for us to idolize.
Think about the idolization of money in the alcohol industry. They pursue profit at the expense of health, life, safety, and human flourishing. By making money an idol, they create suffering on a mass scale.
People make idols of all sorts of things, and this idolatry creates problems for them and the people in their lives. But when people in power seek the idol of wealth above all else, then it creates problems for the very fabric of our society.
The Kingdom of God does not seek wealth. The Kingdom of God seeks human flourishing, cooperation, compassion, and love.
You cannot serve God and wealth.