Mammon and Ministry. Who Are You Serving?
Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
The context and the setting of a passage is most important to understand the true meaning of what the passage is conveying. To get the context of this passage, we must go back all the way to chapter 4 of Matthew.
There in Chapter 4, we see that Jesus has gathered His disciples, and they are going throughout Galilee, with Jesus teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. As a result, great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond Jordan are following Him. Then in Chapter 5, we can see the setting in which Jesus teaches these wonderful Words:
Mat 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Most professional pulpeteers apply these words to the general audience of paying spectators who come to hear them speak/preach. But the truth is that the context shows that these words of Jesus in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 are specifically addressing His disciples, those who have responded to the Call of the Lord in their lives, and are actively operating in the ministry. Of course, it could be argued (and should) that since God has called all believers into the Body of Christ, as a royal priesthood, then these words apply to all Christians. The truth is that NOT ALL Christians have responded to the Call to ministry (service) to the Lord.
Now that we have established the setting and the context of these wonderful words "in the Red", let us return to Matthew 6:24.
If one conducts a study in the Greek version of the Old Testament (Septuagint) to see where and in what context the Greek word "Mammonas" is used, Matthew 6:24 would be understood in a new light than what we generally have been taught to believe.
The Greek word Mammonas is equivalent to the Hebrew word "minchah". Where minchah is used in the Old Testament, the Greek either translates it as "Thusia" (sacrifice), or "Mammonas". in every instance where it is translated as "mammonas", it is referred to as a gift, or a present. 2 Kings 8:8, 9; 2 Chr 7:7; Ez 45:25, 46:5,7,11,14,15,20 (gift offering); Daniel 2:46.
As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word "mincha" is defined as:
minchâh min-khaw' From an unused root meaning to apportion, that is, bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary): - gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice. (Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)
In the Old Testament, this word was also used to denote the portion of the meat offering that was reserved for the priest's consumption (see Lev 7:1-10 - verse 9 and 10 particularly. Meat offering = minchah). Granted, the Greek translation of Minchah here is "thusia" or the general word for "sacrifice", but both terms Thusia, or Mammonas when used in the Septuagint denote a sacrificial voluntary offering.
The laborer is worthy of his hire. The priest and all others who labored in service to the Lord were to be partakers of the sacrificial offerings that daily came into the temple, supported by those who were ministered to. But they weren't to pick and choose how much or what portion they were to get (Lev 7:10). Eli's sons did that, and were slain in Shiloh for their sin (1 Sam 2:12-17; 4:2-11).
In a Biblical reference resource, the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, I discovered that the version of the Septuagint which is used in that volume also translates "Manna" is as "mammonas". Truly, the Manna that rained down in the wilderness was a gift from the Lord, and the very means by which all of Israel was sustained and fed on a daily basis. They were taught not to collect more than they needed for the day, because if they hoarded it, it would rot.
And in our passage in Matthew 6, Jesus is telling those who serve him in ministry not to lay up treasures for themselves on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through to steal (Matthew 6:19). Service to Him is the true treasure that those in ministry should have their focus on (6:21). He is telling them not to worry about what they will eat and what they will wear, because God will provide their needs (6:25). If they are about seeing the Kingdom of God established in their sphere of influence, God will see that they will be provided for (6:33).
What a far cry this is from most ministries today, who give speeches as to why you should "sow seed" into thier ministry, or pass out "faith promise cards", or go from church to church and write letters to drum up support. Although it may be presented as something else, it is merely a (maybe well meaning) service to Mammon.
You cannot have Faith in the Lord to provide your needs for ministry, if you are hinging your faith in your ability to convince people to support you.
The one who serves the Lord must be an example to those who have not yet responded to the Call. If we who are in ministry preach to others to have faith in God, we should be demonstrating that Living Faith to others.
I wonder what would happen to a lot of "faith" based ministries if they stopped looking to the mammon (provision) and focused only on the Provider?
There is no polite way to say this, but it must be said: those who are in ministry who are constantly making appeals for donations to support their ministry or who negotiate for pay, or request an "honorarium" or an minimum offering for their service are serving mammon.
Opportunists using the Name of Jesus to further their self-dominated ministry.
Men and women of little faith, who are operating contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They make a mockery of the ministry of God, by causing the unbelievers to stumble, thinking that those who preach the Gospel are about getting money for their service to God.
Paul, a minister of the Gospel said:
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
CATHOLICISM: IS THE MASS A CHRISTIAN RITUAL?
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