“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Verse 24 (NIV)
I learned a few bits of information that were new to me this week. I learned that the Roman god of love was Venus, and the god of war was Mars. To me and I am sure to many of us, those are just the names of a couple of planets. But to a Roman army, it was crucial to sacrifice to Mars and pray for victory before going into battle. And a young Roman man would pray to Venus that the woman who had stolen his heart would someday return his love.
Most of us don’t know that the ancient Syrian god of wealth and prosperity was called Mammon. Jesus lived just across the border from Syria, and he knew about Mammon. This was a false god that represented the love of money and the material wealth and comforts and power it might buy. Jesus also knew that you cannot have any other god alongside the Creator of heaven and earth. That would be idolatry. Therefore, he said, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” Any of us who were raised with the King James Version of the Bible will vaguely recognize the name “Mammon.”
Idolatry is at the root of looking at the world differently or doing business differently rather than via a Biblical norm. And gradually the idol takes over. Greed and worry which accompanies so much of the pursuit of prosperity today, replaces the moral guidelines of the Bible, and the calm trust in God’s blessing disappears along with them. The result so very often is trampled human relationships, anxiety, and sometimes even nervous breakdowns. These can be signs that, somewhere along the line, serving Mammon has squeezed out serving God. Mammon is not a god of love but a false god that leaves a trail of destruction.
“Who are you serving today?”
Lord God, earning a living is an important part of our daily life. Help us to serve you alone, and to trust you for our daily bread. Amen.