“There is Nothing Behind Mammon Except Mammon”
Tuesday-- Week 23
The Word Became Flesh
E. Stanley Jones
The moment you make mammon central, anxiety possesses you. For there is nothing behind mammon except mammon. You and your mammon have to hold your world together. If mammon goes, your world of security goes.
But if you seek first the kingdom of God, then all that you need of material things is guaranteed--everything is behind you-- you have a cosmic guarantee for your way of life. Anxiety drops away. You are basically secure.
Anxiety over material things is the most devastating thing in the spiritual life. Jesus says so [Mark 4: 18, 19]. It is the sin of otherwise good people.
These observations were first published in 1963. Fifty years later, we otherwise good people still find ourselves flipping out over mammon. We are especially anxious about having enough money for retirement. Will we be able to hold our world together after we retire? Will our nest egg keep us secure? Such questions keep us awake at night.
Pastors, can you reassure the people in your congregation and help them overcome their fears for their financial future? E. Stanley Jones helped by pointing people to a kingdom-of-God way of life. His understanding of that way of life grew out of his study of scripture, his ministerial experience, and his devotional life. The kingdom lifestyle that Jones described, the examples he gave to illustrate it, reflect his historical moment. Personally, I don’t think his descriptions and examples will satisfy today’s congregants.
Sorry pastors, you can’t just quote Jones in your sermon. Speak out of your own study of scripture, your own experience both spiritual and professional. Share in your sermons what spiritual disciplines help you combat anxiety over material things. Then you will be wrestling with the thing most responsible for devastating your congregation’s spiritual life.