Money, money, money. Songs have been written about it, movies have been made about it, and entire cultures have been swayed by its importance. The entire Western world is being infused with the thought “what’s in it for me?” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus personifies Mammon when saying, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24). The word “money” here is “mammon” meaning “wealth” or “riches.” John Milton solidified Mammon in the pantheon of evil by personifying it in Paradise Lost as one of Hell’s fallen angels. Mammon was said to be the “least erected” of the infernal because he was so used to looking down wantingly at the pavement of gold in heaven. In Hell’s great debate on whether to attack Heaven, his argument was that war risks being under God’s rule again: Of new Subjection; with what eyes could we Stand in his presence humble, and receive Strict Laws impos’d, to celebrate his Throne With warbl’d Hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forc’t Halleluiah’s; And his plan was that Hell should simply be built up into something that rivaled Heaven. Like Mammon, when we get caught up in material possessions (house, car, salary, 401K), are we any different or are we simply erecting our own palaces?
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Isaac Serrano is Lead Teaching Pastor of South Valley Community Church. He likes talking theology, history, and culture. Isaac lives in Gilroy with his family. On his days off, he likes to go fishing and venture outdoors. Isaac serves on the leadership board for the Regeneration Project and the school board of Pacific Point Christian Schools.