Sunday, January 26, 2014

God and Mammon

Jesus made it very clear that we cannot serve both God and Mammon.  At one point He said that whoever does not forsake all his possessions cannot be his disciple.  We must take these warnings to heart, especially as we come here to worship Him.

Riches are not an automatic evil, but they are something that must be carefully watched.  They lure, they whisper, they entice and quietly demand.  That is why Jesus said that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  By any biblical standards, and by the general standards of the world and all of history, we are those people. We had better take those warnings to heart.

Paul followed up on Jesus’ teaching on riches, commanding those who are rich in this age not to be haughty, nor to trust in those uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy (and so we ought to always acknowledge that the riches we have are from God, the one we trust as opposed to the riches, and that He has given them to us to enjoy – and so we better enjoy them to the glory of His name).  Paul goes on to say that the rich are to do good with those riches, that they ought to be rich in good works – that their hands ought to hold the possessions loosely, being instead ready to give, willing to share – and that by doing so they would be storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come.

Again, Jesus said that we are not to worry about our possessions but instead we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  This command is given to those whether they are rich or poor.  Mammon is tricky whether or not you actually have it.  It turns out that the poor can be as bound up with a love for riches as the rich can be.

And so we are called to take all of this teaching on riches and do something about it.  The first, most biblical response to this subject is to faithfully, joyfully, thankfully tithing on the increase of your riches.  This teaches the rich that all the riches are God’s and came from Him and are to be used for Him, enjoyed with Him and shared with His.  It also teaches the poor to not be anxious in the moments where there is more month than there is money again.  In all situations it declares we will not serve both God and Mammon.

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