Who speaks to you today saying,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
Mammon is the name that the Jews gave to describe two things: money and gain. It is Aramaic, not Hebrew, but both still have to do with having no other gods before the Lord. So where does mammon affect us today?
For one, this flag to my right represents a government who serves mammon. Last year, the average person in America paid more in taxes than they did on food and clothing combined, even forcing families to worship mammon as well, if they want to live.
This flag to my left also represents service to mammon. Whether or not the family of the man who designed it still receives royalties, you still must pay for it. This oppositely represents the Gospel its supposedly for, which can not be bought or paid for. This also coming from the churches who are adamantly opposed to a crucifix, but gladly fly this piece of cloth in the Chancel instead.
Finally, you say you don’t serve mammon, but there is a way to disprove that. All I would have to do is set fire to either the flag of the
a 100 dollar bill, or your credit score and your reaction would reveal your
true heart and your true god.
Divorce is a separating of what God has joined together; a gory slicing apart of one flesh, yet it does not receive the same strong reaction.
Abortion is murder, yet sports games receive more of a reaction than does this abomination within our midst.
Children are being publically taught that money and career is more important than fatherhood, motherhood, and having families. Yet, by keeping all this among us, we think we offer service to God, but our actions betray us.
The real evil is in the “necessity of money” that modern society preaches.
We should offer recompense for work done on our behalf. We should expect recompense for our work in order to do good with it. We need it to live, but that is exactly the chink in the armor that mammon slips in through, corrupting our good intentions with sinful desires.
This is why mammon is usually referred to as “unrighteous gain” in Scripture, because this freedom is a two-edged sword. Yes we can use money, but it can be used for evil or good. It is a tool, not a god.
The Lord says to honor Him by sacrificing your mammon to Him (Prov. 3:9). He also says,
“Woe to him who builds his house with mammon and his upper rooms without justice,
Who uses his neighbor’s services without pay and does not give him his wages” (Jer. 22:13).
This is because you must destroy lives, what God has created, in order to get dishonest gain (Eze. 22:27). Blood must be shed to worship mammon. Faith must be sacrificed in order to worship mammon. This we see as our sins crucify Jesus on the cross.
If you are ever in doubt as to whether or not you serve mammon or are guilty of any other sin, you need only look at the cross of Christ. If He is there, in His Word, suffering and dying, you are indeed sinful and guilty.
Jesus says, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Thus, Jesus can go on in the Gospel to say be anxious for nothing, because everything you have is on loan. Your money does not have your picture on it, but your ruler’s picture. Give it back to him.
Likewise, your body has Christ’s picture on it, not yours. Give it back to Him. One way or another both of these things happen. The government takes all your money and the Lord retrieves your body from you. With the world there is no mercy. Yet, with the Lord there is mercy and redemption of both body and soul.
Trust not in princes, or money, or gain, they are but mortal and soon decay. Though you need money, use it, don’t let it use you. As all things, sacrifice them at this very altar, which Jesus has prepared for you in the presence of your enemies. Give them up, for though your service is incomplete, God’s Service to you is full and free.
For unlike unrighteous gain, the Lord is righteous. He gives good gifts both of earth and heaven. Not only does He know your earthly needs and provides for you, but He knows your eternal needs and provides for them in His Church, through Jesus.
Faith purifies all things for the believer, because faith in Christ leaves no room for any kind of earthly gain. Faith knows that it is not our service, but God’s that counts for eternity. Thus, in the Church we call it the Divines Service, because it is the Divine (God) that serves us, not us serving God, much less our mammon.
Since the Spirit of the Lord has given us faith, we want nothing in the way of or obstructing that service. It is Jesus’ work, Jesus’ Church, and Jesus’ gifts. Jesus keeps His work pure for you. He purifies His Church in His Blood, for you. He offers you heavenly gain at no cost to you.
In Christ, neither money, nor food, nor any other thing can bar salvation from us, because it has been freely purchased and freely given. Your misplacement or misuse of your fear and love and trust are forgivable sins, because faith trusts that Christ is on the cross for you.
Our sins may have hung on the cross with Jesus, but it was His love and mercy that put Him there, Himself. It is not a diet free of polyunsaturated fats, or free of processed foods, or free from money that will save us, but only the Son of God.
And His Church reflects that. There is nothing but Christ Crucified here. Christ Crucified on the Altar. Christ Crucified in the Gospel. Christ Crucified in the font and Christ Crucified and living in you. Church comes first because that is where God and His Kingdom and His righteousness are.
Now, by this cross, we know what it looks like to serve God and not mammon and it is completely backwards in our estimation. What serving God looks like this: that we set aside the work we do so that God may work in us. Serving God is receiving what He is serving us, that is the full remission of all your sins in Jesus.
Thus, if you are ever in doubt as to whether or not you are saved by grace, you need only look at the cross of Christ. If He is there, in His Word, suffering and dying for you, you are indeed saved and forgiven.