“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10
“No one can serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Note that it is not the only root of all kinds of evil, but it can be a root to all kinds. No one can serve two masters. And therefore we need to resolve every day who our Master will be for that day.

Master is an old-fashioned word these days. Perhaps a good modern equivalent for us is Motivation. Most Christians will hopefully readily assert that Jesus is their Lord and Master. But when it comes to the daily motivation for all that they do, is it Jesus? Or is it something else? Pride? Ego? Money? Fame? Celebrity? Lust? Jealousy? Each of these can be powerful motivators, but we are called to be people motivated and mastered only by Jesus.

As soon as we let any one of these negative motivators into our lives, they try to take over, and can end up destroying our own lives, and many others besides. History is filled with well-meaning politicians who started their career seeking to govern in the national interest, but who ended by trying to cling on to power at any cost. And when such a desire for power, or for money, takes over, it can leave a trail of murder, lying, theft and all sorts of evil in its wake.

Sexual lust too can be a root of all kinds of evil. King David was a man who seemed able to cope with the fabulous wealth that came with being King, but he struggled with lust. His desire for Bathsheba led not only to their adultery, but also to murder and lying, as he tried to cover up the terrible facts of his sin.

Money, sex and power. All three can become roots of all kinds of evil. All three will seek to master us as soon we allow any room for them in our lives. And yet perhaps there is a less obvious but equally sinister motivation that can creep into our service for God – pride in ourselves, and a desire for others to think well of us.

Whenever we begin something new, or take on a new project, it is good for us to check our motives. Are we doing this because God has called us to it? Or because we think someone else will be impressed – a potential spouse, a mentor we seek to impress, a family member we seek to prove wrong, a colleague we see as a competitor..? The list is long, but it can be deadly. We must do all that we do for the glory of God, not to prove or impress anyone or anything.

Who are the people you feel a need to prove any points towards? Name them now. And then consciously realise that when discerning any work or project you choose to get involved with, you are not doing it to prove any points to them. You’re doing it for Jesus. And if you’re not doing it for Jesus, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

Where are there any hints of false motives in your life and leadership? Who are the people you feel a need to prove something to? What will you do to remove them as masters and motivations? What will you do to ensure Jesus is Master and Motivation over all you do?

Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and is currently researching for a biography on William Wilberforce. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.