Mammon … in the New Testament of the Bible is commonly thought to mean money, material wealth, or any entity that promises wealth, and is associated with the greedy pursuit of gain. “You can not serve both God and mammon [Jesus said].” [Matt. 6:24]. In the Middle Ages it was often personified as a deity and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell. Mammon in Hebrew… means “money”. Mammon is the god of material things.¹
Strangely, though believers are warned against materialism and love of money in Scripture (Ecc. 5:10; Matt. 6:24; Luke 12:15; 1Pet 5:2-3, 1Tim. 6:17-19; Heb. 13:5), some teach that God’s will for the believer is financial/material prosperity. This is not true. But sadly, it has become the main staple many believers feed on. They have sanctified their greed in the name of Christianity. And many preachers use their pulpits and ministries to promote such falsehood. This week, one of such teachings was brought to my attention from a popular daily devotional in Ghana, Living Word for 23rd March 2019.
In this article, I will attempt to address some of the troubling teachings taught in the devotional for the day in question: 23rd March, 2019. You can access the full devotional here. But for space I will address only relevant portions of it.
God Is A Financier
God is, has always been, and will always be the best financier. He wants us and our children to be secure in Him so that He can make our finances secure. Matthew 6:33 KJV says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When His kingdom is our focus, He provides everything we need on earth.
One of the first observation in the devotional is a view of God that is transactional. God is a financier we are told and to benefit from his “finances” you have to give money. That is the whole idea of the devotional which unsurprisingly is titled “Be A Giver“. The idea simply been that, it is in our giving that God blesses us. One may ask: “Can we buy God’s blessings?” The obvious response is no.
Now there are many descriptions the Bible gives about God and Financier is not one of them. This is simply a distorted view of the Sovereign God of the Bible influenced by false teachings about Christianity and money. The popular belief is that it is God’s will for Christians to be materially and financially blessed. And of course there are biblical texts to support that, albeit, distorted. One such commonly distorted texts is Matthew 6:33 and quoted in the devotional. In the context of Matthew 6:33, there are specific things God has promised the believer: food, drink and shelter (Matt 6:31-32); to wit–our basic needs. That puts Matthew 6:33 in proper perspective. The text calls us to trust in God and not be anxious. It doesn’t promise God will provide everything we need on earth.
Secured In God For Financial Security
[God] wants us and our children to be secure in Him so that He can make our finances secure.
The above reflects the mindset of some believers and preachers about God and money. While Paul warns that godliness is not a means to gain, others rather will want us to believe godliness is a means to gain. Indeed, this is popular theology: become a Christian and all your problems–including financial will go away. But that is not a gospel promise. God nowhere in Scripture promises us financial security. It is only those who want to pervert the gospel who tell us God will bless you and make you rich—financially secured.
God’s agenda for the believer is not financial security or any other earthly security. God’s agenda for the believer is conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). It is indeed pathetic to put forward financial security as a consequence of our security in God. In fact, Paul says those who reason thus are depraved in mind and deprived of truth (1Tim. 6:3-5).
God wants to give us everything we need and more so that we can give to those around us in need. But we must first give before we receive. We must be willing to part with the seed that is in our hands.
Bear in mind that anytime you hear preachers talk about seed sowing, it is about money. The devotional ends a prayer which points to the idea of what seed is: “Lord, thank you for the principle of sowing and reaping. Let every seed of financial giving I have made yield a harvest of financial prosperity and abundance.” You see what is going on here? There is a seed of financial giving in anticipation of a harvest of financial prosperity.
There is no doubt God blesses our generosity. But to reason we must part with money to gain God’s blessing as portrayed in the devotional is not Christianity. To say “we must first give before we receive” is to make merchandise of Christianity. In this life, everything we will ever receive from God is soley out of his mercies and grace. We cannot buy God’s blessings. We cannot pay for God’s blessing and we cannot do anything to merit God’s blessings than just to have faith in Christ.
Unlocking God’s Storehouse
God has given us and our families the key to unlock His storehouse of provision. It is His Word.
God’s word has been given to us for sanctification, growth and obedience. However, to further advance their agenda, many prosperity preachers want us to believe in God’s word are some “financial principles” to be unlocked. True, the word of God has numerous life lessons to teach us. But the word is no storehouse of provision to be unlocked. When we approach the Bible with such distorted worldview, we only diminish the glory of the word and become materialistic in our thinking.
At all times we must be discerning in what we read and not allow ourselves to be deceived with words without biblical basis.
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