“You cannot serve God and Mammon”
Q: Who said it?
A: You got it! Jesus said it. (in Matthew 6:24)
Q: What is Mammon?
Now hang on, isn’t it ‘money obtained through immoral means’ or ‘money that’s stolen from people who needed it’?
Nope. It’s just plain money – not the filthy stinking kind or the born-into-it kind or the I-got-luckykind or any other particular version of it. It’s just money – plain money – and Jesus said that you CAN NOT serve it, if you want to serve God.
And did you notice that other words I capitalized there – they are the words CAN NOT.
Let’s spell them out again, just in case anybody missed them. C-A-N-N-O-T.
OK. Maybe it’s not the spelling that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the meaning of the words ‘can’ and‘not’ that throws people. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are plenty of people out there saying that we should not serve both God and money – ie. that it’s a very bad idea to try to serve both masters. Jesus didn’t say it was a bad idea. He just said that it was not possible.
It’s not that serving money is a bad idea. If all you want to do with your life is to make money, I suppose it’s a great idea. It’s only a terrible idea if you were thinking of serving God, because it‘s not possible to do both.
“You cannot serve two masters” Jesus says. “Either you’ll end up hating one and loving the other, or you’ll end up devoted to one and despising the other”. Either way it adds up to the same thing. You cannot serve both of these guys. It’s just not possible – no sir, not at all, no way!
Now can we be clear about this, please? Good. Because I’m getting sick of hearing all my peers in the Internet Marketing world telling me that I’ve got to focus my mind on money if I want to make money, and think about money in order to attract money.
I keep getting told, ‘as a man thinketh, so he is’. I suspect that’s true. Indeed, let’s take it one step further: ‘as a man thinketh, so he serves’.
‘Think about money, make money’ – maybe that is the way it works. The other side of the equation though has to be, ‘think about money, serve money’. And I get the feeling that there are a lot of good people out there who are being suckered into this way of thinking who actually started out wanting to serve the other master!
So what’s the alternative? Make no money? Give away Internet Marketing? Turn off the computer and concentrate on your relationships? Well, … it wouldn’t hurt if a lot more of us did that, but I don’t think it’s the only alternative.
‘Think service’ – that’s the alternative. Think about the Kingdom of God and what you can do for others.
Now that’s a novel approach! Well, … actually it’s not that novel, as I notice that some of the best marketers on the NET focus on exactly that – quality of service to their customers – and their businesses seem to be doing just fine too.
So is that all there is to it? Just focus on service and everything else will fall into place?
No. Of course not. Conducting your business with integrity is tough work. Temptations to JV with the evil guy are there at every turn. If you’re an Internet Marketer, you’re immersed in a culture that pulsates with false promises, deadlines that don’t really exist, vastly exaggerated claims and straight out lies. You gotta watch your step.
But the starting point is the most important point. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the rest will fall into place”. It’s a rough translation of Matthew 6:33, but it captures the essence. If you truly have your focus on the Kingdom, I do believe that the rest will follow.
And let me give you one other word from Jesus (from that same sermon in Matthew 6) that will help to keep you on track. It’s one of my favourite verses and one of the most penetrating words Jesus ever gave us.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
Did you get that? Where you’re treasure is – that’s where your heart is!
Again, this is not advice, any more than the statement about the two masters was advice. It’s a straightforward statement of fact. ‘Your heart will always be found alongside your treasure!’
The great power of these words is that they give us a sort of litmus test for spiritual integrity – not just in online marketing, but in all of life.
You see, we normally think that it’s what we say that indicates where their heart is! We are obviously spiritual people if we say spiritual things. Our words indicate where our heart is.
No! Jesus says, ‘I’ll give you a better test. Show me where your treasure is. That’s where your heart is!’
Do you want to know where someone’s heart lies? Take a look at their tax return! Do you want to know where your heart is? Take another look at your bank account!
This is the only sure-fire test for spiritual integrity that Jesus ever gave us. ‘Do you want to know where a person’s heart is? Have a look at where they’ve stored their treasure’.
I won’t bother spelling this out in any more detail. I’m sure you can think it through for yourself. Think about your great spiritual role models. Where did Mother Theresa have her treasure invested? Think about the people you most admire. Where have they invested their treasure?
Of course it’s quite possible that the people you most admire are fat millionaires who live in plush surroundings and don’t think about anybody beyond themselves and their families. OK. There’s nothing I can do about that, but please do me the favour of being honest about one thing: you are serving the other master!
First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.