No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24
“What we give we gain. What we gain when we give comes in many forms. First of all, when we give, we recognize, both implicitly and explicitly, that life is not a process of exchange and equivalence, but of abundance and generosity…Exchange and equivalence is a zero-sum approach, the notion that what I give I lose to your gain. It implies a closed system. Abundance and generosity implies an open system, one in which the creative power of God is ever active, so what we give we gain. Mammon wants us to believe that the books always have to balance out in the end – that whatever you have is what I can’t have and vice versa…
Mammon is good at arithmetic, and balancing the books, but very bad at divine economics. Mammon’s economy is based on the principle of ‘beggar your neighbor’. But in divine economics, where there is abundance and generosity, there is no zero-sum approach. Instead, we see an economy that facilitates mutual flourishing and the common good…Abundance exists to be given, freely and openly…We need to train ourselves to see the world in terms of abundance and generosity…Such a discipline swims against the stream of the way economy is assumed to work.”
Justin Welby in Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2017 (London: Bloomsbury, 2017) 108-109, 126.
Lent is the time to train ourselves to see the world in terms of the open system of God’s abundance and generosity which teaches us “what we give we gain.” It is not easy because the world teaches us that “what I give I lose to your gain.”
How’s your Lent going in terms of giving? Are you trying to balance the books or seeking to experience the creative power of God? This is not about making poor financial decisions; it’s about choosing to live by divine economics.
Jesus is clear: we cannot serve God and Mammon. He is not trying to ruin us financially; He is trying to help us take hold of life according to God’s economy. When we discipline ourselves to live this way, we find that it’s the only way to live!Read more