In the Gospel for this Sunday Jesus did not minced His words: “No man can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and mammon.” We tend to think of ‘mammon’ as money or wealth. It means more than that. The word ‘mammon’ comes from a Hebrew root that means “to entrust” – like today we speak about credit, trust funds and bonds – we trust in them!. Mammon came to mean “that in which a person places his trust.” (cf. Barclay’s commentary on Matthew’s Gospel). Mammon can become a substitute for God; an idol, a false God – an end all and be all of life.
A person devoted to Mammon will always be consumed with worry and anxiety that come from the fear of losing the things that give false meaning to his life. In Christchurch, our experiences of the earthquake, and more recently the fire on the port hills, remind us again that ‘things’ can be replaced, but life is precious. Yet, life is only truly precious if it has a higher calling – an eternal calling. God is the source of all life and goodness, and only with knowing what God has called us to aspire for, do our lives find meaning and purpose. Otherwise….. life is just a series of worries and anxieties until death sets us free!