Thursdays With Oswald—What Is Mammon?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Is Mammon?

     You cannot serve God and Mammon [Matthew 6:24]. A man of the world says we can; with a little subtlety and wisdom and compromise (it is called diplomacy or tact), we can serve both. The devil’s temptation to our Lord to fall down and worship him, i.e., to compromise, is repeated over and over again in Christian experience. We have to realize that there is a division as high as heaven and as deep as hell between the Christian and the world. ‘Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God’ [James 4:4]. … 

     Never compromise with the spirit of Mammon. When you are right with God, you become contemptible in the eyes of the world. Put into practice any of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and you will be treated with amusement at first; then if you persist, the world will get annoyed and will detest you. … What is Mammon? The system of civilized life which organizes itself without considering God. … 

     When we become mature in godliness God trusts His own honor to us by placing us where the world, the flesh, and the devil may try us, knowing that ‘greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world’ [1 John 4:4].

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

Mammon wants to get what it wants to get, without considering God and without regard to the long-term consequences. Mammon wants satisfaction right now! 

Mammon is the system of the world. People are constantly driven by what they can get for themselves right now, with little—if any—thought to what God thinks or to what the inevitable outcome is going to be. 

A Christian is different. 

A Christian is focused on something which cannot be seen right now. But just because the rewards cannot be seen doesn’t make them any less real. In fact, Jesus teaches that the rewards He gives are Reality itself. 

When a Christian insists on doing things God’s way, the devil will sneer and people will laugh. But God’s Spirit in you is greater than all of that, and He will help you to stand firm in Him, not compromising with the lure of Mammon. 

9 Responses to “Thursdays With Oswald—What Is Mammon?”

  1. mikevoice0891 Says:

    What do you do for work? What kind of job do you do, or are you not working for money in this world system to pay bills and buy food, clothing and a roof over your head?

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    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      Mike, I’m not sure I understand your questions. Are saying a Christian shouldn’t have a job?

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      • mikevoice0891 Says:

        No. I’m asking whether you do, and as such need to be a part of ‘mammon’? I’ll understand if you would rather not answer.

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        • Craig T. Owens Says:

          I do have a job—a couple of them actually.

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        • mikevoice0891 Says:

          Awesome. Great work. I’m just a simple guy with just one.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mikevoice0891 Says:

          My point was that we all, you and me included, serve Mammon everyday.

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        • Craig T. Owens Says:

          I believe we can have jobs without serving Mammon. Money ≠ Mammon. Rather, Mammon is the deification of wealth. Other biblical passages speak of the nobility of work, with even Jesus Himself having worked for a living. But when getting money is the goal, it then becomes Mammon. When God is the goal, money is merely a tool that is used for temporal means. Mammon denies the true riches in Heaven by seeking to “live your best life now.” The one who seeks God’s kingdom knows that we are merely passing through this Earth for a time; this is not our home and our treasure is stored up for us elsewhere.

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        • mikevoice0891 Says:

          Mammon is definied specifically as material wealth, it doesn’t necessarily specify deification of it. You’re adding to the word.

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        • Craig T. Owens Says:

          Mike, all of the scholars agree that mamōnas is defined as riches only where it is personified and opposed to God. This is why many of the English translations capitalize the word, as it as becomes almost a life unto itself that is opposed to God’s kingdom.

          Throughout the New Testament Christians are seen using their employment and their material possessions in ways which are both God honoring and Kingdom building. Granted, there are also warnings against the pursuit of wealth, but only where that pursuit of wealth/possessions supersedes the pursuit of God and His Kingdom.

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