Do you master your money or does your money master you? That’s an important question for us to consider at the start of a new year. Do you live your life using money as a tool or does your money use you? Money or “mammon,” as Jesus referred to it, is a competing god for your loyalty and worship.
The word “mammon” that sometimes is translated “wealth, greed or riches,” is basically a competing material system of acquisition that can attach itself to us and pull our loyalty away from more noble, spiritual pursuits. Mammon is a god in many ancient writings. So when Jesus used the termed, it meant that in the culture of the day in which He spoke.
Wealth itself is a neutral reality. It can be something that can benefit many, and much of the education, health care, orphanages and care-giving institutions of our day are driven by wealth. Wealthy people contribute and share and much good is done for many as a result. But wealth can become deceptive and soul-stealing. It can convince us that “we are rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” (Rev 3:17)
There is no guarantee of contentment that comes with wealth. There is no assurance that those who temporarily have control of it are going to do good with it. As many as have done good with wealth, many others have used it for evil purposes. And possessing things can become a slippery slope to idolatry.
The sure way to make certain we are mastering money and not the other way around is to be generous in our use of it. The question we must always ask, whether we are raking in millions in the stock market or living on fixed incomes, is not “how much should I give” but “how much should I keep?”
Legacies are built not on how much net worth is accumulated, but what is done with that acquisition of material goods. Our ultimate judgment will be based not on how much we made but how much we released for the purposes of the Kingdom.
Generosity is an atmosphere in which mammon cannot breathe. If you want to live in the fullness and freedom of the Kingdom of God, there can be no competing god. You must choose which god to follow.
And mammon must not be allowed to rule us.
FOR MEDITATION: But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
FOR REFLECTION: As you think about how you live your life and how you discharge your stewardship of resources, which god is truly your master?