For example: Scenario A) I work on Sundays as a first responder and I'm scheduled to come to work on Sunday; Scenario B) Working on Sunday gives me time and a half, so I choose to work on Sunday and miss church. Is that an example?
ESV - 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
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Trying to answer your question, using the two examples, is like the Pharisees writing volumes of books to identify every violation of the Mosaic law, and then making up a bunch of rules that don’t even flow from the spirit of the law. I believe a better approach is to discover the truth from the bible, the Word of God, on specific topics, like money and material things. Once we know the truth, we can use it as spiritual principles to guide our evaluation of any situation we encounter in life. These principles are God’s wisdom to help us discern right from wrong. There are over 2,300 verses in the bible dealing with money and material things. God has a lot to say on this topic and we have a lot to learn. Before I reference some of these principles, I believe it is important to understand how sin gains control of our lives and how to break free. I am referencing Romans chapter 5 and 6 to help us understand these spiritual truths: 1) all human beings are born into sin, we have a sinful nature that controls the choices we make, 2) we choose what pleases us or pleases others, we could care less what pleases God, we are slaves to sin, 3) Jesus came to be our redeemer, his suffering and death paid the penalty for our sin, his resurrection set us free from the power of sin, 4) when we come to faith in Jesus, we are united with him in his death, our sinful self is crucified with him, 5) the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, sealing our salvation, breathing life into our dead spirit, we become truly alive as new created beings, 6) we come to obey the truth of God’s word and apply his spiritual principles to our daily lives, 7) we become slaves to righteousness. Our lives are not our own, we were bought by Jesus, he paid the redemption price to set us free. Now we are slaves of God (Romans 6:19-20). This slavery is really the pathway to eternal life as laid out in Romans chapter 6. This obedience [applying spiritual principles to our daily lives] leads to righteousness [right living that is pleasing to God]. Righteousness leads to holiness [we are fully surrendered to fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives]. Holiness brings us eternal life [abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life every day]. With this background, here is the litmus test question. Who is calling the shots in our lives, who is making the decisions? Are we making the decisions to gratify self? Is the world making the decisions because we want to please or impress others? Is God making the decisions, because he purchased our lives and has the right to tell us how to live so we will please him? This brings us back to the bible, which is the truth of God. When we discover this truth and obey it, we live a life that pleases God. Following are just a few of the spiritual principles we can apply to our management of money and material things: 1) put God first in our life and he will meet our financial needs (Matt 6:33), 2) be content with the material things we have (Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:8), 3) don’t try to get rich, it’s a trap leading to ruin and destruction, for love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10), be generous and willing to share with others in need (2 Corinthians 9:6-11; 1 Timothy 6:18). Some suggestions to consider from your examples: 1) Ask your boss if you could switch your Sunday shifts with someone else because going to church is important to you. 2) Commit to God that you are willing to say No to working on Sunday so you can keep the Sabboth day holy – attend church, worship, hear the word, fellowship with other Christians. God will richly bless such a commitment. 3) Attend church services on a Saturday or Sunday night, even at another bible believing church, if necessary 4) Take a bible study course on money, such as “Financial Management – God’s Way” [www.biblefinance.org]
We live in a materialistic world that encourages spending. We are assaulted daily by commercials trying to convince us that no matter how much we have, we need more. Furniture, cars, clothing or appliances, all can be bought with a click of a mouse. We are tempted at every corner to spend more than we have and buy more than we need. And if we don’t have the money, we are encouraged to charge, to borrow, to purchase on delayed payment plans – thus we became enslaved and make money the master of our lives (1 Tim 6:10; 1 John 2:15-17). In Matthew 6:25-32 Jesus is telling us to trust Him and not worry about life’s needful things. Although all material blessings come from God (Deut 8:18), money can get in the way of more important things, and wealth can take God's place in our daily living (Jeremiah 9:23, 24). There is a big difference between needs and wants: I need a car, but I want an Audi. I need shelter, but I want a large house. I need clothes, but I want to make a fashion statement. We can only serve one master at a time. Servants listen for their master’s voice and obey the master’s wishes. When God is our master, we listen to His voice and do what He wants us to do – out of love we want to please Him. In response, He wants to take care of us (Matt 11:28-30). Yet, money can become our master - we do whatever it takes to fulfill the master’s wishes. Skip a mortgage, credit card or car payment and will see how cruel the money master can become. God knows we need food, shelter, cars and clothes - the question is, what do we take care of first? By seeking God’s will first, we’re always going to be fine (Matt 6:33). Finally, let's look at the scenario A and B: although the Bible doesn’t command us to abstain from work on Sunday, or keep it holy, I understand the point and I will carefully word my reply not to offend anyone. The way I see it, there are two issues here: 1.The principle of ox into a ditch (Luke 14:5). Emergencies (medical or otherwise) happen at all hours every day of the week. God wants us to be compassionate, and medical personnel/first responders are needed to care for the sick and other emergencies. Imagine calling 911 with an emergency and being told that no one is available because everyone is in church. If working on weekends is required, a person should seek to rotate their duties such that the work on the Lord’s Day will be only periodic and not constant, thus giving the opportunity to spend time in church and worship God (Ps 149:1; Matt 11:28). 2.Do we have to, or do we want to work on weekends? If we want to because of the extra income, and by doing so we are divorcing ourselves from the fellowship with God and His Church, we might want to take time and reconsider our priorities (Heb 10:25).
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