Serving God or Mammon?

Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
24 “No one 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.

Someone once told me about the money-making scheme. As he was telling me about the scheme, I could sense where his heart lies so I gently told him not to get too attached to money.

“But I like money,” he replied. “Doesn’t God want to prosper us and grow wealth?”

Money by itself is neither good nor bad. But what matters is our attitude toward money. Are we putting money first before everything else? Or do we put God and relationships first before money. Where do we place our faith in? God or money?

Money buys us food, material goods, house, medicine, etc… It’s not much of a leap for a person to start viewing money as something that gives them security and rest from troubles. And it’s not difficult for people to start loving money for they see that it gives them many things in life. But money only offers us false security and satisfaction. It’s easy to forget who the TRUE PROVIDER is especially when money buys us shelter, food and our basic needs. Remember God gave a habitable planet for us to live, not too far nor too close to the sun. He also created animals and plants for us to eat. God created the materials that allowed us to build shelter!

God has provided many things in our lives, many things we might not realize right away. Remember how God provided heavenly manna and water for the wandering Israelites in the desert wilderness? Fed Elijah in time of famine? Forewarned Joseph to store up grains for seven years of famine? The Bible lists so many examples of how God supernaturally provided for His children in time of need! The scripture mentioned below tells us not to worry too much about our life –

Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Sadly, love of money and greed pervades almost everywhere in our society (at least here in America). Mammon reign as a powerful stronghold in many lives in this country. Here are few examples how it pervades everyday lives –

There are people playing lottery or gambling in hope of striking it rich, falling for money-related scams, trampling others in order to advance their own career, stealing, and engaging in fraud. Corrupt politicians accepting bribes or contributions in exchange for granting favors to their benefactors. Criminals blackmailing others’ dark secret for financial gain. Wealthy financiers exploiting cheap labors, ‘starving’ their workers while fattening themselves up. Monetary interest and usury everywhere we go. Pastors favoring the more generous contributors than those who don’t contribute. The list goes on and on.

Greed and the love of the money tie all of these together. The scripture says that love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. How those people are deceived into thinking that they are masters over money while the money is truly a merciless master over them!

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (ESV)
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

These people place their hope in money to provide them security and to be free from worries. The thinking is, “Only if I had a million dollars, then I wouldn’t have to worry about paying bills, medicine, etc..” or “Finally, I can buy some fancy houses, car, etc..” or “Money would solve our problems.”

But that kind of thinking reveals their faith is placed in money. They are attempting to seek satisfaction and security from money.

Our faith should be placed in God instead! Christ can only offer us true satisfaction and peace. He alone can satisfy our soul even as we face trials and tribulations on earth. God is the Creator of the heaven and earth. He provided everything for us to enjoy. God wants us to have faith in HIM, not in money to provide for us. There is no way we can have faith in both money and God. We will either pick one over the other. Where will our faith lies? God or money?

Think about this, isn’t it wiser to depend on living God who can provide for everything we need in our life? Let us be content with what God gave us.

Some additional scripture on money –

Proverb 23:5 (NIV)
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV)
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Proverbs 22:16 (ESV)
16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
    or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

James 5:1-6 (ESV)
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

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