Saturday, July 14, 2007

Is Your Mammon Serving God?

by Millie Chan, GCF icommentary

We are called to serve the Lord. But knowing that the greatest challenge to this call is the lure of mammon, we are particularly warned that we "cannot serve God and mammon" at the same time (Matthew 6:24).

In real term, it is not possible to serve money. We cannot enrich money, nor assist money nor can we be a benefactor to money. We are however conditioned into believing that money holds the promise to great happiness. It is touted as the solution to many of our heartaches and difficulties. It is our passport to a blessed lifestyle. Thus enamoured, we strive to place ourselves in a position so that money's power can be at our disposal.

In other words, money beckons us with its promise of happiness and we serve mammon by believing its promise and walking in the faith of that promise. In order to avoid the snare of mammon, we must learn to recognise the great economic lie. We must constantly stay alert to its insidious lure which can lead us to an addictive and destructive existence.

But our success in not labouring our lives in pursuit of mammon does not mean our lives are rendered in service of God. The primary call to serve God remains to be lived out. And for many of us the last stronghold in the battle is learning to release the money which is already in our pocket for His purpose.

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:8 : "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work". Heed the spending formula: spend on need but abound in good work. Enough for us but abundance for others.

God delights to prosper us in all manner of life. But when He enlarges our income, it is not so we can move from a semi-detached house to a bungalow. Our wealth is to be released to reach the needy. The evil is not caused by huge salaries. The evil is in being deceived into believing that a $100,000 salary must be matched by a $100,000 lifestyle. God has made us the conduit of His grace. The danger is in thinking that the conduit should lead back to our own backyard.

In Ephesians 4:28, Paul says, "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need".

This verse tells of 3 ways to make and live with our money:
a) we steal money for our livelihood;
b) we work for our livelihood; or
c) we work so as to get money for our livelihood and to share with others in need.

Many of us dwell and thrive in scenario 2. We are deceived into thinking that the only sin in relation to money is stealing. So we commit ourselves to make our living honestly. But when it comes to spending the income we make, we are the chief beneficiaries. Our giving is marginalised, overshadowed by our ever-expanding "wants" which are dressed down to appear as "needs".

The Lord calls us relentlessly to move into scenario 3. Work, spend on our real needs and share the rest abundantly with others. Our generosity (or the lack of it) is the gauge to determine where we place our hope and trust: in the Lord and His eternal promise of happiness or in the mammon and its false claim.

So if we run a check on our lifestyle, we will see whom we are serving, God or mammon. And if we run a check on our spending habit, we will see whom our mammon is serving, us or God.


discovery said...

I don't really until I strike five million tommorrow... Man is such unreliable creature

Chang Wei Hao said...

whether five million and five ringgit, let us learn continually how to treasure God above earthly wealth :)

discovery said...

How ??? even Christians community are fighting over money money money ... there is a lot hypocrisy in Christianity when dealing with S11. We are the first culprit

Chang Wei Hao said...

perhaps it starts with repentance, since we are the first culprit. And not stop at being a jeremiad, but show by example selfless giving to the poor and to mission? :) There's lots of that can be done, just bcos there are bad apples shouldn't stop us from being countercultural lor...