Jesus Christ advised that we are either under the power of God or Mammon. Since many people in our culture are not worshippers of God it is safe to assume that they worship Mammon. If many people in our culture worship Mammon then we can assume that many aspects of our culture are under the rule of Mammon.
If that is the case then we should see much evidence of the worship of money in our culture. Do we see that?
The Almighty Dollar
Sadly there is much evidence that many in our culture worship the almighty dollar. Money controls much of what people do. Much evil, exploitation and abuse of others is done in the name of profit, selfishness and greed for gain.
The evidence suggests that Mammon is living large in western culture. So let’s take a moment to observe just a few evidences of this reality.
The Rip Off Game
The rip-off morality rules many people’s hearts and controls their actions. They have no sense of guilt or shame about exploiting others and stealing their goods from them.
King Solomon warned his son against joining those who will even kill in order to get other people’s goods.
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down to the pit: We will find all precious substance, we will fill our houses with spoil: Cast in your lot with us; let us all have one purse: My son, do not walk in the way with them; refrain your foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” Proverbs 1:10-16
That is the spirit of the rip-off merchants and the Mammonites. Their personal morality allows them to exploit others to the point of murder, in order to get more goods for themselves.
Some will protest that they are happy to rip people off, but would never kill them, but I assert that if you have Mammon as your god you are under the power of a murderous spirit, no matter how much you justify your own position.
Rip-Offs I Have Known
I met a man in Australia who openly shared about his involvement in various activities designed to take advantage of the unwary. He had no moral conscience about taking advantage of people. If they were silly enough to leave themselves vulnerable then he saw it as perfectly reasonable to take their money from them.
On one occasion he colluded with others to buy a large number of shares in an exploration company. Then they talked up the value of the company and sold their shares for a handsome profit to people who did not do their own due-diligence.
This was just a matter of doing business as far as he was concerned.
There was a twist to this story, however, when the exploration company actually found something of value and the shares were about to go up many more times in value. The rogue and his friends frantically scrambled to buy the shares back as cheaply as possible to ride the real increase in value that was about to happen.
I have lamented in other places about the USA attitude of Buyer Beware, where it seems a national sport to take down the unwary.
The Rip-Off Impulse
Some people so worship money that they cannot hold themselves back from taking advantage of others. My first experience of this came as a young lad. My mother sent me to the nearest shop where essential supplies could be bought. I was probably about seven years old at the time. The man who ran the shop, Harold Haddo (as I remember it) gave me the wrong change for my purchase.
My mother was most upset and grilled me to be sure I had not spent money on myself, which I had not. Then our neighbour advised us that Harold was famous for giving wrong change in his own favour. From that time on I had to be extremely careful when doing business with this smiling, friendly cheat.
Rather than make a completely honest living, this man tried to take just a little extra of all the vulnerable people who did business with him. It was an impulse that he could not resist. It made him a thief, liar and cheat. It robbed him of respect and made him an evil memory for all who knew him. He was happy to suffer all that for the sake of a few more dollars. Mammon ruled his life and his business.
Don’t Let The Cat Out of the Bag
Rip off practices are nothing new. The old saying “don’t let the cat out of the bag” dates back to the village practice of selling a piglet, but actually putting a cat into the bag instead. Letting the cat out of the bag meant the shopkeeper would be caught out.
Then, as far back as the time of Moses, laws were put in place about having honest weights, so customers were not ripped-off. A man who had different measures in his bag was to be condemned.
Would You Sell Your Children?
In Thailand my friend is working in the recovery of children sold into the sex trade. These village children are sold into this hideous degradation by their parents. I always assumed it was poverty and desperation that would motivate a parent to even consider such a thing. I am informed that parents will sell their children simply to have the money for something the parents would like to buy.
This is Mammon at work in the village culture. The desire for money and personal gain is motivating parents to condemn their children to abuse.
While many shudder at the thought of selling a child to slavery for any reward, they think little of people aborting a baby because it will be an inconvenience to them.
Many people have told me how they refused to have more than one or two children because they wanted to live better than they would be able to if they had more children. By that admission they are saying that money (Mammon) is more important to them than children.
While that is not the same as selling a child or killing a child, it is of the same spirit, the spirit of Mammon. Money is so important that anything which might reduce its availability, even children, is to be avoided.
A Mammon-free World
What would western culture look like if there were no love of money? What would life be like if people only worshipped God and nothing else?
Imagine a world where no one would make or sell a product unless they knew it provided excellent value. Imagine a world where everyone fully and accurately disclosed the condition of the goods they had on offer. Imagine a world where every saving made by the company was passed on to the customer.
Imagine a world where money was made by providing value, quality and service, and that any way to save the customer money was pursued and the benefit passed to the customer.
Imagine a world where any miscalculation was corrected and any advantage taken of someone was repaid to them as a matter of priority. Imagine a world where people created extra value for their customers and gave it to them free of charge.
That is the world that God created you to be a part of and that He created for you to enjoy. It is your worship of Mammon that has destroyed that world. So let’s repent of giving our world over to the destructive and evil influence of Mammon and money.
Let’s reclaim our world and let everyone enjoy its glory.