Derek Prince - If You Love Money, You Hate God
Jesus Himself had a lot to say about money. I want to just turn to a couple of passages in the gospels where He deals with this question of money. The first is in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:24: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. That's a general principle, and then Jesus applies it specifically in the area of money. You cannot serve God and mammon. Some of the modern translations in place of mammon say money. Which renders the meaning correctly, but I don't think it gives a full understanding.
I think mammon is not just another word for money. I think in the Bible it represents an evil spiritual force that controls and enslaves people through money. So that those who are controlled by money, are being controlled by something in the spiritual realm that is evil and destructive. And Jesus says all of us have to choose. One thing we cannot do is serve two masters. The two masters that He refers to are God and mammon, or money. He puts this issue so clearly we need to look at it. Always of course, Jesus will put God first and then the alternative. He says: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one - who is the one there? God - and love the other - who is that? Money, mammon.
See, that's a very penetrating verse. If you love money, you're hating God. We don't like these very clear-cut issues that the Bible presents to us. But that's it. If you love money in the sense that it controls you and motivates you, you may not be aware of it, but your attitude to God is described by Him as one of hatred. Then he gives the other alternative: or else he will be loyal to the one - who is that? God - and despise the other - that's mammon. So if we are loyal to God in this matter of money, we will not let money dictate to us. I have in my own life, years ago, come to the place where God called me to step out in full time service, quote, full time. At that point, this is many years ago, I was faced with the decision: no man can be my disciple, unless he forsakes all that he has. And at that point in my life, when I was about 31 years old, God specifically called me to serve Him in the land that was then Palestine.
In making that decision, I didn't make a dramatic commitment, but God put me step by step through it to the point where I had to forsake everything. My own country, my family, my profession as a fellow of Kings College Cambridge, my finance, my career, everything. I had to step out in naked faith. And I believe that anybody who is called to that kind of service, in some way or other will be brought out to a point where they have to decide: are you going to trust God? And you are not going to allow money to dictate to you. That doesn't mean that you'll be deprived of money forever. But it means that you'll be brought to a point of decision where money will not dictate the decisions you make in life. It's a remarkable thing about the early church. As far as I can see they never based their decisions on how much money they had. They never said, If we have enough money we'll go and preach in Antioch or Corinth or Rome. They simply went because they knew that was God's will.
See, they had been delivered from slavery to mammon. And that's the will of God for each of us. He'll bring it about in a different way in every life. But at one time or another, if you want to be a truly free person, you have got to come to the point where money is not going to dictate to you. And that it must be a point of faith. The only alternative is faith. So there's the decision: whom are you going to serve? God or mammon. It's true, I think with most of us we don't like these clear-cut issues. We'd rather have it a little bit blurred. We'd like a little soft music and religious language. I find that God, when He really is dealing with us, eliminates the soft music and the religious language and brings us down to what the Americans call the nitty-gritty. God deals in those areas. Notice the choice is not whether you'll serve. It's only whom you'll serve.
About 13 centuries before this, Joshua had spoken to the children of Israel after they had entered the Promised Land. And he said: Choose this day - what did he say? whom you will serve - not whether you will serve. And he said, Are you going to serve the true God or are you going to serve the gods your fathers served or are you going to serve the gods of this land? But serve you must. Man's nature is such that ultimately he will serve. That's not your choice. You choice is whom will you serve? And you cannot serve two masters. Later in Israel's history, when they had become a backslidden nation, the prophet Elijah challenged them. He said, How long will you limp along between two opinions? If Baal is god, serve him, if Jehovah is God, serve him. But make up your mind whom you are going to serve. And unquestionably, in the life of each one of us as God deals with us, we will be brought to the point of making that decision. Not whether I will serve, but whom I will serve. We cannot serve God and money.