22nd January 2021

My Bible reading tells me Jesus said ‘You cannot serve God and Mammon’, Mammon standing for a materialistic lifestyle. But isn’t that just how we have to live in today’s world? We worship, we pray, we try to put God in the centre of our lives, but we have to live material lives: earn, save, take our pensions; bills have to be paid, insurance taken out, houses repaired. It would be irresponsible not to deal with these things. So aren’t we serving our material lives just as much as our spiritual lives?

A ‘decent standard of living’ such as most of us enjoy makes so many things possible, but there are innumerable temptations to give these priority, and justify them by using them for good. A new kitchen means we can entertain our friends and neighbours better, offering cheer and encouragement. Churches need (expensive) better premises to offer better community services. Are we serving Mammon by having a good materialistic lifestyle, or are we using Mammon to serve God and show His love to people around?

That’s where the knife edge comes in: keeping God in the centre, not tipping over into self indulgence. Jesus also said: ‘Watch and pray that you don’t fall into temptation’. But don’t let’s forget people whose material needs have to fill their whole horizon. We are blessed that we can ‘seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ not only for ourselves but for all the people we know…

Lesley Fuller