My Big Fat Greek Problem! (Matthew 6:24)

May 10, 2010 3 Comments by

9th May, 2010

I try very hard to encourage people to think beyond the headlines. When I look at news events, I always to try to ‘walk in the shoes’ of those personally touched by the events of the day.
Think for a moment about the mounting uncertainty for millions who trust in money or financial investments.

In recent days, the Greek government has been forced to impose stiff financial measures in the face of their devastating national economic crisis.

The essential budget cuts amount to 30 billion euros over the next three years. On the surface that is a matter-of-fact report which boils down to mere budgeting. But when the personal touch is added, there are people right now, who are facing pay cuts and pension reductions. Government operated activities are to be offered for privatization as the Greeks search for a recovery raft.

Not surprisingly, panic-stricken Greeks have taken to the streets in protest. They’ve been hit in the wallet and it hurts. The noises coming from inside and outside their nation scream panic and more hard times to come.

But the immediate concern goes beyond them. The European Union and its relatively new Euro is shaken. The Euro value has fallen because of fears countries such as Spain and Portugal could join the Greek disaster. (How long ago was it, financial whizzkids were advising us to invest in the Euro?)

Serious Situation
Eurozone leaders have been meeting in an attempt to tighten budget rules within their coalition. “We will defend the Euro whatever it takes,” they boldly said at a news conference.

“We are fully aware that we face a serious situation in the Eurozone. It is about responsibility and it is about solidarity. We will face the situation together,” said Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

The cash totals involved are astronomical. Athens has been pledged 110 billion euros ($147.6 billion) in loans to buy it time to reform its uncompetitive economy, but financial markets have reacted with skepticism, prompting EU leaders to consider new steps to prevent the Greek crisis from spreading to other euro zone member states.

“No one can serve two masters,” Jesus said. ‘For either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6: 24)

Interesting word ‘mammon’. It’s from the Greek (would you believe it?) meaning ‘wealth’ or ‘property.’ The Apostle Luke called it ‘unrighteous mammon’ – Luke 16: 9, 11.

Mammon is not inherently evil as we learn from the famous Shema, so revered by the Jewish people. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6: 5) With all your might or strength, includes the meaning ‘all your wealth (mammon)’.

We all admire the dedicated, detailed mentoring of Timothy by the Apostle Paul. He gave his faithful young protégé sound, valued advice.
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But fthose who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6: 6-10)
There are ‘many pangs’ happening today in Greece, Spain and Portugal. Fear of a financial virus is spreading to countries once considered immune from collapse.
When God is ignored and His sovereignty despised, He warned there would be consequences.
There is no foundation or pliable future without Him.
The real stocks and shares in our lives should be that we regularly take stock of our relationship with Him, and when that is done, we share our faith so that others may know the wealth we enjoy.
Be sure to make the right investments today.

Ron's Rave, World News

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.

3 Responses to “My Big Fat Greek Problem! (Matthew 6:24)”

  1. John McDonald says:

    [quote]Mammon is not inherently evil as we learn from the famous Shema, so revered by the Jewish people. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6: 5) With all your might or strength, includes the meaning ‘all your wealth (mammon)’.[/quote]
    Ron I have to disagree with your statement here. Mammon is evil, mammon is a deity that invades the conomic realm It operates by deifying money, in other words it is when ‘money speaks’ and thus controls ones thoughts and thus becomes god. The sad thing is that so many in the church listen to money, when God is asking them to do something and the answer is, but I don’t have the money, and thereby one refrains from obedience, as money (mammon) has spoken.

  2. Ron Ross says:

    The Pharisees had this problem because their spiritual eyes were diseased (Matt. 6:22). With their eyes they were coveting money and wealth. Thus they were in spiritual darkness. They were slaves to the master of greed, and their desire for money was so great they were failing in their service to their true Master, God. Money is the translation of the Aramaic word for “wealth or property,” mamōna (“mammon,” KJV).
    Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Mt 6:19–24). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

    John, thanks for your comment. In the Middle East ‘mammon’ is the translation of an Aramaic word, which is the context of its biblical use by the Lord.

    He warned it can be evil but when our ‘property’ comes under His sovereignty it is a gift provided for our well-being and for the extension of His kingdom.

    Note this from the Bible Knowledge Commentary
    24 “Jesus now explains that behind the choice between two treasures (where we lay them up) and two visions (where we fix our eyes) there lies the still more basic choice between two masters (whom we are going to serve)” (Stott, p. 158). “Money” renders Greek mamōna (“mammon”), itself a transliteration of Aramaic māmônāʾ (in the emphatic state; “wealth,” “property”). The root in both Aramaic and Hebrew (ʾmn) indicates that in which one has confidence; and the connection with money and wealth, well attested in Jewish literature (e.g., Peah 1:1; b Berakoth 61b; M Aboth 2:7; and not always in a negative sense), is painfully obvious. Here it is personified. Both God and Money are portrayed, not as employers, but as slave owners. A man may work for two employers; but since “single ownership and full time service are of the essence of slavery” (Tasker), he cannot serve two slave owners. Either God is served with a single-eyed devotion, or he is not served at all. Attempts at divided loyalty betray, not partial commitment to discipleship, but deep-seated commitment to idolatry.
    Gaebelein, F. E., Carson, D. A., Wessel, W. W., & Liefeld, W. L. (1984). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (178–179). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

    “Not always in a negative sense” is the key.

    Thanks again

    Ron

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