“You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Merriam-Webster defines mammon as material wealth or possessions, especially having a debasing influence. While God does not take issue with our need to use money for the business of our lives, there can be a problem with the attitudes we bring to it. We can easily become so preoccupied and obsessed with money that it becomes the real “god” we worship. Do we serve mammon instead of God? In their book, Wealth, Riches and Money, Craig Hill and Earl Pitts outline symptoms of mammon’s influence in our lives. Some of these are worry and anxiety over money, money mismanagement, fear over “never having enough,” an “I can’t afford it” mentality, impulse buying, stinginess, greed, debt, and discontent.;
Many of the things on that list can consume us to the point that we are distracted from what we really need to be doing. Many people spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about money and it becomes the source of their worst fears. If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we place far more emphasis on our material securities than we ought. In fact, we have actually convinced ourselves that we cannot live without it. Are we that certain about the presence of God? Many of the world’s problems, especially those involving inequity and injustice, result from conflicts about money. Many equate money with happiness. Those successful in accumulating large amounts of it quickly realize just how wrong they are.
“Your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God’s will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God (Martin Luther King, Jr.).” This is the point Jesus is trying to make. Unfortunately, when we look around our man-made kingdoms are far more prevalent than God’s kingdom. When we start seeing greater evidence of justice, equity, dignity, respect, opportunity, gentleness, holiness, solidarity, honesty, simplicity, care for creation, and a decrease in ambition, then we will know that God’s kingdom is being served. We will be doing what we are supposed to do.
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