I have been reading “The Blessed Life” by Robert Morris as part of a book study. We report on each chapter that we read. The last report allowed me to articulate a concept that has been formulating in my heart over the last weeks. I thought I’d share that here.
There’s that feeling, that struggle between what we now call radical obedience/faith and the logic, or the world system that has been instilled in us in the form of education. The worry, the self-preservation, the plotting, the planning, the attempted compromise – when God asks for everything and we are afraid that we’ll be left with nothing. That’s the Spirit of Mammon.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
I remember the struggle, the fear, the confusion, and sometimes even the resentment that God would have me to give, to sacrifice, or to do without – often with no obvious purpose. And that is when it is apparent that there is another power trying to gain the highest place in my life. God does not bring confusion, guilt, or shame. Neither does He compromise. Doubt and double-mindedness are a big indication that I am walking on the line between fear and faith, that I am trying to serve God and something else. That is when I must quickly reel myself in and decide if I am going to serve/love God or if I’ll despise Him.
When it comes to Mammon we cloak our justifications in the name of “stewardship” and “wisdom.” When in fact, we are preserving our own life, deciding that God’s provision is limited and we are the regulator, doomed to grasping, grappling and poverty if we don’t care for it properly. We forget that His mercies are new every morning. We forget that He will give us our daily bread. When it comes to money, I believe we hold ourselves to our past mistakes and our past successes, with a self-determination (a self-judgment) of what we should be allowed to receive, to steward, to give – instead of truly allowing God to determine our financial position – daily.
Lately, I think of my financial provision, it’s the parameters that I am given, or entrusted to work within at this place in time. When I serve God, not mammon, then it is enough, enough for today, and I am so well cared for. When I serve God, there will be enough tomorrow, whatever tomorrow brings, regardless of what He asks for me to give today. When I serve God, there is no anxiety, there is no fear, there is no concern about whether or not I’ll be cared for – that is a given, just like the air that I breath.
Mammon tells me that I should work (serve) to gain another level of provision. Great energy goes into plotting and planning my financial security, not only for the days ahead, but the weeks and years ahead. My value, my favor, even the way I view myself in God’s eyes becomes based on my debt to income ratio and how much is sitting in a savings or retirement account.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Lately I’ve been thinking about all of the things that we don’t really consider, that, as God’s kids, we walk in without thought or concern. We know that He’s there, we know that we are forgiven, we know that He is the author and finisher of our faith, we know that we are loved, we are gifted, we are anointed. We pray without fear, we speak without reservation, we know that as long as there is a purpose for our life on this earth – we will remain here. That when He determines, we will join Him in heaven. We are used to the fact that every day we have enough food, clothes in our closet, a dry place to sleep, enough to share, our cars start, our bodies work, we move forward with little thought or concern about any of these things. We are aware that they are part of us being where He’s called us to be and living what He’s called us to live.
The one area that we give a lot of thought, energy, time, worry, and devotion to is money. What we have, if it will be enough how we will get more, where it will come from, and on and on and on. I think that God would have us spend as little time concerning ourselves with money as we do concerned about whether or not we’ll be able to get out of bed today, or whether our bodies will work, or our car will start…in my world, I think very little of these things.
I know I’ll have the physical ability to do whatever God wants me to do today – to go wherever He wants me to go today. I may have no energy left at the end of the day, but then I sleep and tomorrow there will be energy for tomorrow. I think that’s the way that He would have us regard money – it’s a tool, a renewable resource – when it’s His and He is the master. Otherwise we are living no differently than the unbelievers.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”