Roger Babson, an American historian, was visiting the president of Argentina about one hundred years ago when the president said to him: “You are a student of history, Will you please tell me why it is that South America, with her unlimited resources, and having been settled earlier than North America, has nevertheless made much slower progress in civilization and material prosperity?”
Mr. Babson threw the question back upon the president by saying, “Mr. President, you evidently have studied this question yourself, and I would be interested to know your answer to it.
The President replied that he thought the explanation lay in the fact that South America was settled by Spaniards who came seeking gold while North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers who came seeking God.
Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
“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.
It’s interesting that God compares serving him with serving mammon. What’s also interesting to take note of, is that many translations say, “God and money”, but the word mammon encompasses much more than just money, it also relates the materialism & worldly gain.
When materialism and the pursuit of it at all costs become our most important goal in life, it becomes a problem. Jesus tells us that mammon represents or is a form a false god, amounting to idol worship.
1.A Divided Heart
Just three verses earlier Jesus tells us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Whatever is important and of value to us, we tend to put everything and plough all our resources into it. The question we need to ask ourselves is what takes priority in our lives?
Giving God priority in everything we do, allows him to take centre stage in our hearts. Our hearts need to be in the right place. The problem comes in when our hearts are divided, when we sit on the fence in terms of who we are giving our hearts to. When Jesus says you cannot serve God and mammon, what he is actually telling us, we need to make a decision. The time for sitting on the fence is over.
We cannot give our full attention to both God and mammon. In our pursuit of wealth and materialism, and the pleasure of the world, we tend to give Jesus the “cold shoulder” and the scraps that is left of our attention. What God is looking for, is someone that is immersed in worship unto him, he does not want a quick fling or a “one-night stand” he wants your all, every part of your heart, he wants your heart for eternity.
Unless our hearts are focused and surrendered unto Jesus, where we place value on the things of God rather than on the things of the world we are not being obedient to Gods word. When our hearts are divided and we give part to God and part to the world, we are basically telling God, “it’s not all about you God, I have a life as well, and just deal with it.”
There is a touch of arrogance and a connotation that we are who we are not because of God, but because of our capabilities and works. When mammon becomes a dictatorial figure in our lives, we are heading down the wrong path.
Look at what God says about giving him all:
Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
Matthew 22:36-38 (NKJV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
When Jesus says “ all you heart, all your soul and all you mind” it means everything, everything that we are made of, he wants our mind, our will our emotions, our ways, our thoughts, our plans – all surrendered to him.
We can try and twist this scripture around any way we want to, but the bottom line is that Jesus wants it all, in fact it’s a commandment, there is no room for a divided heart in true spiritual worship unto God.
2.A Surrendered Heart
When we talk about surrendering, it’s about giving everything, about laying it all down, and allowing God to take control. When we come into a place of total surrender and allow God to be God, we are being obedient to his word.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
As believers our first act of surrender, was when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. But it does not end there, we are called to surrender our lives daily to God. Our daily lives should be as worship unto God, in total surrender.
Psalm 24: 3-6 (NKJV)
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.
Scripture tells us that, only one with clean hands and a pure heart (a heart that undivided, that’s surrendered to God alone, can stand in his Holy Place, can offer true and acceptable worship unto God.
It’s never enough to speak about the holiness and power of God, or even to sing about the blood of Jesus. It’s also about living a surrendered life, and giving everything for Jesus, because he gave his all.
Matthew 15:8-9 (NKJV)
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Michael W Smith’s song “Heart of worship” –
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart
I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
This is the place we need to be, when we are totally surrendered to Jesus, and its all about him, and nothing else. When everything is stripped away, the camera, the lights, the action, the stage, its just you and God.
What is really in our hearts, when its just you and God. When there is no one else around. Man looks at the outward, but God sees the heart, the condition, the attitude the surrender.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Feel free to comment or share a testimony.