I have always been struck by Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:24. There He says: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the first and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and Money.” (REB)

Of all the choices for god pretenders, why did Jesus choose Money? He could have said “You cannot serve God and Baal”, or “God and Jupiter”, or any of the many gods of His day. But no. Jesus chooses Money as THE competitor to God for the hearts of men. He knew precisely what He was doing.

There is no other pretender to godhood as pervasive and as perennial as Money. Its hard to dispute the logic that if you just have enough money you will be able to get what you need in life and more. A person may need God for the religious issues of life. But he must have money. So many give allegiance to both God and money.

There is only one problem. Jesus says this is impossible. Its got to be one or the other. The Bible recognises the fact that we need to use money for commercial transactions. But only God or money can command total allegiance in our hearts. Never both.

Indeed as early as Deuteronomy, God has already warned His people: “When you have plenty….do not become proud and forget the Lord your God… it is He who gives you strength to become prosperous…” (Deuteronomy 8:11-18)

Money promises so much. And it makes no moral demands. It is so easy to worship at its altar. But to do so is death. For only God can give life – both eternal life and fullness of life. There may be some value then in the present downturn in the stock market. Many have lost much. Not all were greedy. Nevertheless the bearish market reminds us that Money is not a trustworthy god. Indeed it is no god at all.