I was talking with our son Trevor the other day and used the phrase “more money than God.” It occurred to me as I said it that the phrase could be taken two ways:
- The first is the typical way: So-and-so has a greater amount of money than God has. (Not that God needs money…)
- The second is more ominous: So-and-so has more money than the amount of God he has.
The second interpretation is the one Jesus warns us against, most concisely in Matthew 6:24: You cannot serve both God and mammon.
What is mammon? Wealth and riches, particularly in excess. Historically the word was thought to reference a demon or god associated with material wealth.
I’d like to think we’re not at risk of placing money ahead of God. We are not wealthy by US standards; we live on a budget and give to the church as best we can. Several years ago, Jodi and I began to dig out of debt—and while that journey is ongoing, last week we shared a short video outlining why we are supporting the parish’s BOLD FUTURE campaign.
We are blessed, we know it, and we are trying to share those blessings. Surely we have more God than money in our lives…right?
In the past month we have also seen a handful of unexpected bills. Gas prices have jumped, and we have a new driver putting miles on our gas-guzzling Suburban. My work as a contractor is picking up, requiring me to invest a little in my freelance business.
Then the dryer quit—and yesterday I noticed the minivan needs tires.
I can feel the anxiety creeping in. We expect a little extra money in the next month or so, but we had plans for it this spring. We also have an accumulated “debt snowball” we are set to drop on an old credit card and a donation we have not yet made to the Catholic Services Appeal.
Did we jump the gun committing to giving more to the Church? Should we redirect these funds so the extra money can be used the way we hoped this spring?
It would be easy enough to do.
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?Matthew 6:26-27
Prudence is a virtue—but anxiety is the work of the Enemy. If I succumb to worries about money and future plans and rob St. Peter to pay a secular Paul, I am making the Devil’s work too easy. So we will persist in giving, trusting that God is never outdone in generosity.
Note: This post appeared in the Sunday, March 14, issue of the St. Michael Catholic Church bulletin.