“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else be loyal to the one an despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Mark 8:36, 37

 

Oft while striding the road of life
I come across separate paths of choosing
One path promises safety, stability and gain
whilst the other is about dreams, calling and risk
All too often I try
to tread both paths at once
Only to find their direction diverging
each step on each path requiring more effort
Until virtually no forward motion is possible at all
I then realize my folly for both cannot be tread together
I find that I can no longer stand an am forced to
my knees to cry out
God which path finds you at destinations end?
God which path serves you?

Mammon?  In the passage referenced above in some translations the word used is treasure.  On the website dictionary.com, the definition is riches and material wealth.  Here’s the challenge, for this seems to be a hotly contested concept in our world today, is about the obtaining of wealth or the focus on it?

Ahh, but here’s where I have an easy out, I might say to myself.  For you see,  I am not wealthy in any worldly sense (or at least compared to the “wealthy” in my own country).  Okay, I do have a nice, modest sized house, two cars, the standard electronics with the standard connections (cable, internet, etc.).  Thus, because I am not “rich”, do not have a stack of or the gaudy accoutrements of wealth; because I’ve started a blog page where I write posts hoping to praise God, I most assuredly must by serving God and not mammon right?

As I hope the poem above illustrates, the question about whom am I serving is not an easy one, hardly ever is just a one-and-done inquiry and, if we (or at least for me) are not careful, our choices can stop us in our tracks.  You see because “to serve or “serve”, also defined on dictionary.com, means to render obedience or homage to.  Let that concept soak in for a moment; render obedience or homage to……….

Here’s where I (I will not speak for we) get into trouble.  Here’s where gaining the world can put my soul at risk.  You see it doesn’t matter what the world concludes are riches, but what do I conclude are riches or a treasure?  What are my priorities built around?

Finally, where do I see God?  And based upon seeing Him, how do I serve Him?  Again in the poem above, I use the visualization of two paths; but I would encourage you to read King Solomon’ s description of his search for meaning in the Book of Ecclesiastes, because there you’ll find many different paths or perhaps mammon.  For material wealth can be mammon but so can, having a great professional title, or having a beautiful wife and many children.  Having tons of leisure time and activities along with considerable food and drink can also be mammon.  Even great education and fame can become a treasure.

So Dear Sisters and Brothers how can you or I know, if we are paying homage to, we are being obedient to mammon?  If we are open to it, if we will be still and listen, I believe our soul; given explicit warning from the Holy Spirit, will tell us.  For a soul, especially a soul once connected to God; despises becoming lost.  Being the spiritual creations of God Almighty that we are, our spirits yearn to be connected to God, to serve Him, to reject the treasures of this world and store up the treasures of God’s Eternal Kingdom.  The challenge is we are not just spiritual creations but material creations as well.  There are times when we allow the world, the desires of the world as well as the fears of the world,  for remember, quite often we’re not obedient to something out of desire for, but from fear of, to set our priorities and drive the choices we make.

In some practical terms; do I perceive that the gain, however humble it might be comes from the vocation that I do?  When faced with a choice of time, effort, focus and desire; is my first inclination toward the earthly job that I do, calculating that it is the job from whence my ability to live comes from?  Conversely, this dream that I have, this passion that I feel is on my heart; is that about bringing glory and fame to myself?  Is my overarching plan about achieving self promotion or personal adulation?  Do I see God in my choices and do I see His Kingdom as the desired destination of my journey?

I have found that this decision, God or mammon, is not a one time thing or determination.  The world and the prince/enemy of and in this world, will continue to throw mammon of all types at us; either mammon to gain, or the fear of losing the worldly mammon that we have.  Satan will try to convince us, that we are responsible for what we have and thus our focus must be on the responsibility as well as what we have.

Yet take heart Dear Sisters and Brothers.  Jesus Christ, came and was tempted.  Jesus Christ knows our struggles.  Jesus Christ took upon Himself the burdens of our sins.  The grace of Christ’s salvation has included the Holy Spirit sent to testify to and strengthen our souls that we may withstand the temptation to focus on mammon.  Are you facing a decision today?  Does their seem to be ambiguity between what is mammon and what is God?  Take a moment to pray and be silent.  You and I will be instructed on the path, narrow as it is, too take and tremendous blessings both now and eternity will come in selecting God’s path for us.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly confess that we stumble over whom to serve mammon or You.  Pour Out Your Spirit upon us, testifying to us what path You would have us choose and when we’ve strayed off that path.  Help us, through Your Mercy, to see only one true treasure, which is stored up for us in Your Kingdom.  Forgive us when, either through desire or fear, we are tempted to or even start down the wide path toward earthly mammon and destruction.  In Your love, guide us back, that our lives in and through You would be faithful examples of lives in service to You.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

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