You Cannot Serve Both God and Mammon


Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels . With Love and Gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 16: 1-13 

Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”


In the phrase, ” Make friends….with dishonest wealth” – perhaps a better translation  of the Greek for dishonest wealth would be simply ” worldly resources,” which can often lead one to dishonesty. Worldly resources are not condemned, but should be used wisely, with the understanding that all earthly goods will pass away. If we let go of the immediate and worldly, we will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 

Secondly, ” If you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,” reminds us that our behavior here on Earth influences our eternity. 

Finally, “God and Mammon” is a blunt dose of truth meant to convince us that we must own our possessions, not allow them to own us. Only if money is used with a view to our heavenly destiny (and that destiny requires sharing with the less fortunate) can we be sure it does not become an idol and has usurped God’s rightful place at the center of our lives. [see reference] 

Reference: The Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word

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