Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:21-28.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

If we chase the material things the world deems important, but don’t have a relationship with God, what are we accomplishing? Jesus puts it to us in a straightforward way: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (v. 26). That’s the very real danger we face if things are more important than our connection with God and each other.

In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says “You cannot serve both God and money”. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils”. Does this mean wealth is a bad thing?

Jesus teaches that money is just a tool, it is our obtaining and using it that can cause problems. If we earn an honest living without cheating one another and share what we have, we are doing as God intends. Loving Him first and not becoming obsessed about wealth and possessions is essential to our salvation.

Heavenly Father, we know all good gifts come from You. Help us to be good stewards of the bounty You provide, never seeing it as more important than our brothers and sisters or our love for You. Amen.

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