God or Mammon?

You cannot be the slave of both God and of money.
Our Lord warns us about not being duplicitous – not trying to serve two masters. He warns us about this because at the end of the day we cannot do it. We will end up serving just one master and treating the other with scorn.
The example our Lord uses is that of God and money. And He actually uses the Hebrew word, “Mammon”, suggesting that if we serve money then it becomes our real god.
It is a serious warning, but how can this really happen?
One of our really fundamental problems as human beings is anxiety, worry, fear. We are concerned about what the unknown future will bring us, and we are worried about how it will affect us, or those we love. We can have many worries.
If you were to analyse the Bible and to count the most common commandment found within its pages you would find something staggering. The most common commandment is not one of the Ten Commandments. It is not the commandment to love. The most common commandment in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid”, “Fear not”. God knows our anxiety and He speaks His Word to us of peace: “Do not be afraid.”
We all have these worries and we of course try to manage them. We try to do things and find things that give us security. We of course can gain security by strong relationships, whether family, friends or neighbours. But perhaps today the most common way we try to gain security is with wealth. The more financial resources we have, we think, the more secure we can be. And while of course, in the kind of society we live in, we do need some financial resource, we can fall into a trap very quickly; because we go beyond what we actually need. We say to ourselves, “The more wealth I have the more secure I will be, the less fear I will have.” However this is a lie. We cannot buy real security.
Over and over again, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the Gospel that wealth will not buy us security. Remember the parable of the rich farmer? He creates a massive amount of wealth and then he suddenly dies! What good is wealth to the rich farmer then? Our Lord is pointing us beyond the here and now to look beyond our materials needs to find a security not in material possessions but through our relationship with God. In Him alone can find we find true security.
Perhaps during Lent this year, we can reassess our dependence upon wealth for security, and dare to let go of some of it, and replace it with a stronger relationship with God, and stronger relationships with those around us?
Fr Ian

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