We can learn much about a person’s character by watching how they handle money. The Bible says that those who are faithful in financial affairs are also faithful in much, and those who are unjust with money are also unjust in much. This is different than the religious message that says money management is not an indicator of character. Money means a great deal to us, which is why Jesus preached so much about it and why it is linked to trust. When people do not trust God with their money, the spirit of mammon attaches itself to their wealth. It is so pervasive in the world today that many people never realize they are worshipping it instead of God. Mammon is in direct opposition to God and it has a thousand sneaky ways of telling us we do not need him. It has lurked on the earth a long time and our spiritual future depends on recognizing and unmasking this evil spirit.A. Mammon hides behind money to oppose God’s will.
- He who is faithful in the least is also faithful in much, and he who is unjust in the least is also unjust in much. If you have been unfaithful in unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and mammon. The Pharisees, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him (Luke 16:10-14).
- There is a distinction between money and mammon. Jesus referred to money as “the least.”
- When interpreting Scripture, lifting it out of context can lead to bad doctrine.
- The Aramaic translation of “mammon” means money or riches. It comes from the Syrian god of riches. When Jesus used the term “mammon,” he was referring to a false god with whom the Syrians were familiar.
- Mammon is rooted in Babylonian history, and it means “sown in confusion.”
- Babylon is known for the tower of Babel, a situation in which the people believed they did not need God. They thought their work was enough to get them into heaven, which is what mammon wants us to believe.
- Mammon is a spirit, an attitude, and an influence that tells us that if we have money, we do not need God. This is the spirit of Satan.
- The dictionary definition of mammon is the god of riches and greed.
- The devil took Jesus up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to him, All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Get away Satan, for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve (Matthew 4:8-10).
- The devil tried to seduce Jesus with the spirit of mammon.
- We must decide whether to worship God or mammon. Jesus faced the exact same choice that we face.
- When Jesus passed through Jericho, Zacchaeus, who was rich, climbed a tree to see him; Jesus saw him and told him he had to stay at Zacchaeus’ house. When the people saw this, they grumbled, saying that Jesus went with a sinner. Zacchaeus told Jesus he would give half of his goods to the poor, and if he had taken anything by false accusation, he would restore it fourfold. Jesus said salvation had come to the household, and Zachaeus was a son of Abraham. He then told the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country, and charged his servants to watch over his money until he returned (Luke 19:1-26).
- When Jesus was at Zacchaeus’ house, he said nothing about money, but his presence alone was enough to cause Zacchaeus to repent. It caused him to disconnect from the spirit of mammon and become a giver.
- Zacchaeus’ decision to become a giver opened the door for salvation to come into his house, and for good things to happen there that previously could not happen. He also became a partaker of the covenant of Abraham.
- In Jesus’ parable, what qualified the first two servants for more authority was their faithfulness in the least, which was money.
- This parable made the same point as a previous one about a rich man who wanted to build bigger barns to store all his goods (Luke 12:16-21).
- Mammon says we should always give to the poor because they do not have anything, but that is not always wise. Just like in farming, it is good to sow, but we must sow into good ground. Jesus illustrated this point in his parable about the sower (Mark 4:2-8).
- We feel anxiety over unmet needs.
- God is our provider. When we buy into mammon’s philosophy, we live under financial fantasies where greed rules.
- We fear the future.
- Mammon cannot control the future; only God can. He extends his hand toward us and supplies our every need (Philippians 4:19). We can trust God to take care of us (Psalm 104:28).
- Mammon works unbelief.
- It tells us God’s ways are foolish and outdated. It stops us from tithing and giving, or convinces us that this puts us under the law of Moses instead of under grace.
- It brings envy, and causes us to lie and cheat.
- God uses possessions as a test; and how we respond to someone else being blessed indicates the condition of our hearts (Deuteonomy 5:21).
- It brings disobedience into our lives.
- We are God’s stewards and he wants us to prosper and be generous, but mammon wants us to be selfish. God wants to bless us and free us to obey his word; mammon wants to bring us into a curse.
- Mammon derides us for trusting God.
- The Pharisees derided Jesus when he was explaining about money (Luke 16:14, 15), and people still do it today.
- We wrestle against spirits that will not give God first place (Ephesians 6:10-12).
- It causes us to determine success by how much money we make.
- Real success is fulfilling God’s will in our lives. Mammon wants us to live as consumers, not stewards. It gives us an entitlement mentality, and tells us we can live beyond our financial means, but then leaves us.