God vs. Mammon

A Reflection on the Readings from 2 Corinthians & Matthew for Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

At the beginning of today’s gospel Jesus offers us this insight, “No one can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  The_ConversionWhen I read these words I almost instinctively find myself perched atop my high horse criticizing those that I would consider wealthy.  From my ‘elevated’ perspective I’m bewildered by how they convince themselves that their Christianity and wealth can somehow coexist.  I shake my head wondering if they’ve ever even read this passage or if they just skip over it.  It was at about this point that God decided to throw me off my proverbial high horse.  Here is what knocked me on my hind end.

Jesus never said those who serve money and those who have lots of money are one in the same.  Rather the very next line, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear,” seems to strongly imply that His main concern is not your bank account size.  He is more concerned about whether you consult your check book more than His book.  Are you more preoccupied with retirement than righteousness; savings than sanctity; or your portfolio than His poor?  I don’t have to be wealthy to be overly concerned with these things.  It doesn’t take six-figures to make me think, “If I could just make this much money than we would be happy”, instead of thinking, “With God there is Joy.”  If I’m honest with myself, I think I would hate how frequently I cite limited income or debt for why I don’t respond more to God’s will.

Just to be clear, I’m not proposing a wealth and prosperity gospel.  I’m just realizing that as wrong as it is to assume that prosperity is an unfailing sign of God’s favor, it is equally wrong to assume that just because my annual salary is below a certain number I’m safe from the temptation to allow the Almighty to compete with the almighty dollar.

Lord, you are the almighty and nothing can truly compete with you.  Please grant us the clarity to see through our temptations, judgments, and misconceptions and to pursue your will with single-minded obedience.  Amen.

Originally Posted on June 20, 2015 at Ite Missa Est

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