God And Mammon

It is important to realize that God will not accept being secondary in any person’s life. The “first and great commandment” is to “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37). Yet, so many individuals have little to no time for God and His will. There are so many different things that men put before God. Some place recreation, leisure and entertainment before God. Others place their families and friends before God. While still others place their careers and money before God. It is with that understanding that we focus on a warning. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explicitly taught that “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).

When God says that man cannot do a certain thing, then you can accept the impossibility. In this case, it is impossible for God to be first in our lives when we are actually serving “mammon”. What is “mammon” you might ask. “Mammon” is physical wealth/money. Paul warned Timothy, “…they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Similarly, Jesus stated, “…Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). Wealth/money should never become the driving force behind our decisions in this life. James wrote, “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:13-15). It is not wrong to have wealth/money, but we must be diligent to make sure that we do not serve “mammon”.

Abraham was a man with much wealth, but he served the LORD (Gen. 24:35). Likewise, we should appreciate the blessings that we have, but we should never forget the source of those blessings. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Paul explained, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:6-8). The “man of God” should “flee” from the desire to serve “mammon” (1 Tim. 6:11). He needs to be reminded and encouraged to keep his focus on serving God.

Paul instructed Timothy, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19). James described the outcome of those who serve “mammon”. “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:1- 3). Let us make the correct decision to place God first in our lives. By so doing, not only will we have the physical things that we need, but if we are obedient and faithful to Him, we will one day enjoy the luxury of Heaven (Matt. 6:33; John 14:1-3).