Love people, use money
New York preacher Tim Keller was teaching on the seven deadly sins. His wife said “I’ll bet that the week you deal with greed you will have your lowest attendance.” (Counterfeit Gods, p.52). She was right. Keller reflects, “as a pastor I’ve had people come to me to confess that they struggle with almost every kind of sin. Almost. I cannot recall anyone ever coming to me and saying, “I spend too much money on myself. I think my greedy lust for money is harming my family, my soul, and the people around me.” Jesus said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15) Greed is the kind of sin we can be committing without even realising.
Judas was infected by greed. He sold Jesus for 30 silver pieces and he used to steal from the disciples money bag. On the outside he probably had the modest appearance of any other disciple of Jesus, but underneath was a heart of greed. When Mary poured out perfume on Jesus feet that was worth a year’s wages he disapproved: "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." (John 12:5) He gave the appearance of caring for the poor, but he wanted the money for himself.
One way to diagnose our hearts is to measure how much we give and to consider what we think about. Your wallet, your calendar and your thought life can reveal a lot. Do you compare yourself to the person with a nicer house or the person with no house? The antidote is to love God first, because we can’t have two first loves. Jesus gave his life for us, and the only appropriate response is to offer up all we have and all we are in response. With God first we will love people and use money, not love money and use people.