We are living in an age of materialism where, to be satisfied, everyone needs one shilling more than what they have. The more one earns, the more one wants. In the Journal on Financial Therapy, they identify four harmful attitudes that people have towards money: money avoidance – believing that money is bad or that you do not deserve money; money worship – believing that an increase in income or financial windfall will solve your problems; money status – tying your self-worth to your net worth; and money vigilance – being secretive about finances and overly wary of spending. This article will focus on money worship as scripture addresses it. In this age of materialism, a clear biblical understanding of finances is critical for a believer to overcome the challenges of the times. Many have been trapped in the pursuit of money and held captive for so long. The more they get, the more they want.
The Choice of Money Worship
In life, we are faced with many choices to make each day. Moreover, the scripture confronts us with similar challenges where we must make choices; after every choice come consequences that may affect our today or even eternity. For example, Joshua challenged the people to choose whom to worship (Joshua 24:15). Furthermore, Moses calls heaven and earth as witnesses of the people’s choice between life and death, blessings and curses (Deut. 30:19). In addition, Jesus has posed to us a challenge: we have to choose between worshipping God or worshipping mammon (money) (Matt 6:24).
While it is true that money answers all things (Eccl. 10:19), the word “mammon” refers to the idolization of money and wealth, whereby they take the place of God. God is not against riches, but he cautions us from being dominated by them to the point that it affects our thinking, values, actions and relationship with him. He desires to be fully in charge of our lives. Unfortunately, some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6: 6–10). Money isn’t the problem; it’s the love of money (Heb. 13:5). Many people today are consumed with money, never satisfied with life, always worrying about the future, and constantly looking for more ways to make an extra coin. Such pursuit takes one further away from God and his will.
Money Worship is Idol Worship
The above question is not one that anyone will quickly answer in the affirmative. A money worshipper is an idol worshipper (Exodus 20:3-6). God does not want us to worship anything he created. Therefore, it is always wise to keep checking our attitudes regarding finances. Here are some indicators of mammon worshippers:
- Disobeying God’s directives concerning wealth: In Luke 16:14–15, Jesus rebukes those who refused to hear his warning to choose God over mammon: “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” The subject of money is very emotional. For instance, God has asked us to be cheerful givers (1 Cor. 9:6-7), but many would frown at such a directive. We have many people who keep debating about tithe, which only exposes the nature of their hearts.
- Continually lusting for more money: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Lust of any kind cannot be satisfied, no matter how much time or effort is poured into the pursuit of the object of lust. The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13–21) is the story of a man who lives in pursuit of wealth, yet in the end, he loses his soul because he “is not rich toward God” (verse 21). Mark 4:19 warns of the deceitfulness of mammon and its ability to “choke the Word, making it unfruitful.”
- Failing to Trust God’s Love and Faithfulness: A love of money shows we are out of balance in our relationship with God. God has assured us in his word to stay away from the love of money, as he shall never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The promises of God never fail (Psalm 145:13), and hence we can trust him. We must appreciate that no money is ever enough to meet all our needs. Money is also limited; it cannot buy peace or joy. True peace comes from God (Phil. 4:7).
- Elevating Material Things Above Humans: I have always struggled to see humans treat other people like objects when it comes to money. Some churches, for instance, look down on people without much money, while those with riches are elevated to positions of leadership and influence. Parents have also chosen rich children over struggling ones. God created humankind in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). He loved humanity so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die for humanity (John 3:16). God attached such a high value to humanity that he took our form, lived as we do, was tempted like we are, struggled as we do, and even died a shameful death (Philippians 2:5-8). Elevating material things above humanity dishonours God, who created humankind and placed us above all things in the entire creation (Gen. 1:26-28).
- Envying Others: Being envious can be very damaging. Envy is a feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Seeing someone else who has something better than us can provoke us to try harder and even push forward to have the same thing. It is among the desires of the sinful nature by which one shall not enter the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). Joseph’s brothers were envious of him due to the coat of many colours made for him by their father (Gen. 37:3). It resulted in them hating him. Many Christians compete with the world as they seek to prove that they can also possess good things while trying to show the world that God is the owner of all things. Such an attitude misrepresents God, as he is not in competition nor out seeking to prove anything since the universe and everything in it belongs to him (Psalm 50:10).
Worship God Alone
In conclusion, God desires that we worship him and him only. If we love anything in the world, then the love of God is not in us. Therefore, the world and all its desires shall pass away; hence we must put God before everything else (1 John 2:15). To put God first in your life, allow Christ to come and reside in you by clicking here and leaving your details with us.