Working for God or Mammon?
In this post we will talk about money and answer the question:
Must I choose between spirituality and wealth?
First, a confession from Stever:
I have been agonizing over this since my last post. Seriously, I have missed several deadlines for writing this because it represents a “terror barrier” for me. But, I pressed on, not just because I promised a follow-up, but because I REALLY NEED TO GET PAST THIS!
Let’s try this… fill in the blanks:
- Money is the root of _______________
- Money doesn’t grow on _________________
- I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me ______________
- The best things in life are ______________
- It takes _____________ to make Money
- A penny saved is _______________earned
In my last post, I left, hanging on the cliff, a question: Do you serve God or Mammon? I apologize for taking so long to get this follow-up written (Seriously, it was much harder for me than I thought.). And, if you easily filled in the blanks above, I think you can see how our culture has reinforced my terror barrier every step of the way.
I told friends and family the struggle I was having and what the topic of my next post would be. I was taken aback by how many people hadn’t heard of Mammon. It is so deep seated in my psyche, I thought it was commonly known. Apparently not, so we will talk about that right off.
As you may know from reading my book “Four Views of I”, I have been inundated with memes from the Bible. When it comes to money, there are two which are very strong and deep seated in me:
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.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The first verse above is the basis of this post… and the crux of my dilemma. So, let’s get to that “Mammon” spoken of and define it. A cursory search on the internet yields:
wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It was taken by medieval writers as the name of the devil of covetousness, and revived in this sense by Milton.
“others have forsaken Mammon in search of something on a more spiritual plane”
Suffice it to say, Mammon is the name of the god of greedy pursuit of money or material wealth. Biblically, Mammon is synonymous with money. (Well, in my mind it was.)
The second verse above is often misquoted as “Money is the root of all evil,” but we can plainly see it is THE LOVE OF MONEY. This is an important distinction. So, with this foundation, let’s move on with our discussion.
Two years ago, I completed Lurn Masters… a five-day intensive personal breakthrough course. A prerequisite for attending the course was to read “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles. I downloaded a copy and dutifully read it. I admit it was a difficult read for me simply because of the title. I couldn’t get past the word “Science” and I skeptically read the cult-like manuscript. (I had the same problem reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill too.)
I have read the book several times through since then.
In contrast, I read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People because it DIDN’T include the word Riches or Money in the title… and had no issues with my Terror Barrier. Isn’t that interesting? I have begun rereading this classic recently and am making headway in my life journey with it. I am especially fascinated by the concept of a Maturity Continuum and see that I have moved from dependency into independent quite well… but I have not successfully ventured into interdependent. But that will have to wait for another post.
Back to how I got here… which is a bit of a conundrum. See, Michael J. Fox has been a favorite of mine since he played the role of Alex P. Keaton in the sitcom “Family Ties.” I loved that show, and his liberal parents contrasting his Young Republican ways. Then he moved to film and starred in “The Secret of My Success.” In both roles, the characters were all about money. My mother noticed my admiration of these characters and showed it by buying me a checkbook cover that had big gold letters on the front which read “POVERTY SUCKS!”
Two songs I played often and loud were “Life’s Been Good to Me so Far” by Joe Walsh and “This is the Life” by Weird Al Yankovic. Oh, there is a third song, of course I can’t omit: “The Money Song” by Monty Python.
I share this because, if you looked at my life from the outside, you would believe I was 100% in line with becoming wealthy. But I just never broke through. Why? Because the memes were telling me I CAN’T because I was serving God. Can’t serve both God and Mammon….
The struggle is REAL!
Here is a little-known fact about me… some people expected me to become a Pastor of my own church. I thought I would be a good one too, because I love to teach and discuss the Bible. And I care for people… a good mix. But, there was always one thing holding me back… the source of a Pastor’s salary is donations. Isn’t that silly? It is true though.
I could go on and on with my struggles, but let’s cut to the chase… what have I discovered in these last few months? I was looking for another flash, another epiphany like the one that resulted in the last post. I did have one… and I almost missed it.
The Miracle of Compound Interest
Stick around Wealth Creation Mastermind for long enough and you will hear the penny doubling story… basically it goes like this:
You are given an opportunity to work with one of, if not the, richest person in the world. You must commit to 30 days. Promises of great riches are assured. Here is the deal. Once you start, you cannot quit. If you do, you lose everything.
Pay starts at 1 cent for the first day and is doubled for each day after. Dedication and commitment are required.
Let’s work out the math: Day one=$0.01, Day two=$0.02, Day three=$0.04, Day four=$0.08, Day five=$0.16, Day six=$0.32 Day seven=$0.64. So, after the first week you will have $1.27. Quite the accomplishment, eh? (Is this job really worth doing?)
This is a story of gratitude, delayed gratification, and commitment (persistence). Let us reiterate the deal: you must work a minimum of 30 days. If you don’t complete the 30 days, you must return all money. Okay, let’s do this opportunity of a lifetime, here is a chart showing the money earned each day (left column) and a running total (right column).
Your 30-day adventure of focused work pays out a whopping $10,737,418.23!
This is an easy illustration for me because it is VERY simple math. Here is the question I always had, WHO IS THE MAN who can provide that kind of payout? I would easily commit to 30 days of hard labor if I could find someone I trusted, someone I KNEW could back that offer up. I would commit even if it were longer than a month, how about 4 years? Sure! That is not long at all. Most people don’t come close to that amount of money in their entire lifetime!
But my paradigms were firm… there is NOBODY who would give ME that offer. But, wait for it…
I have discovered there is a man who has put that offer on the table for me.
I AM THAT MAN!
I cannot attribute this insight to any single reading of any one book. It is derived from the conglomerate of everything I’ve studied in my life thus far. This insight is the result of everything I have studied and discussed through my entire life, including my own book.
Each and every one of us has this offer available… this is what I am learning from the Wealth Creation Mastermind, and you can too!
I have known all along that it is the LOVE of money and the WORSHIP of money as the end that justifies the means that is the mindset of downfall. See, money is not evil in and of itself. The evil comes from having the wrong relationship with it. Charles Dickens’ classic character Ebenezer Scrooge personifies this evil mindset.
This mindset can deceive completely, so we must have a test to determine if we are tainted with it.
Some differences to consider:
How can I create value?
How do we change the world?
How can I make money?
How do we do what they do, better?
Zero Sum Mindset
It really boils down to where money is in your equation. Is it simply a benchmark indicating your growth in wealth? Or is it your end goal? It is all about your “WHY?”
Here is the litmus test – STS or STO
Are you living “Service to Self” or “Service to Others?” Your purpose drives everything….
You’ve read this far, have you found your answer to the question “Must I choose between spirituality and wealth?” My answer: YES! Moment by moment.
Let me end with the last paragraph from The Science of Getting Rich:
The men and women who practice the foregoing instructions will certainly get rich; and the riches they receive will be in exact proportion to the definiteness of their vision, the fixity of their purpose, the steadiness of their faith, and the depth of their gratitude.
Those are the four drivers of Wealth (according to Wallace). I am excited that his last sentence has four progressive items. (If you’ve read my book, you understand.)
We are taught to work at getting more for doing less… yet we must be active in more than filling our place. It is a balancing act, for sure. Look at this statement:
J.P. Morgan was asked “How much money is enough?” His reply, “Just a little more!”
Like anything in life, perception and viewpoint are exemplified in the uncertainty principle. Each time you see that statement you decide what it means to you. Are you chasing your dream? Or are you gaining your desires? Is it a carrot at the end of a stick or a milestone on your journey?
Life is growth – are you the soil or the seed?
Know Thyself! It is the foundation of life! Every moment is change, keep up! If you want to predict the future… create it! It all comes down to individuality… being a key building block in any team. Does change happen to you or for you? It is a choice.
Start with the big four…
Definiteness of Vision (Body)
Fixity of Purpose (Mind)
Steadiness of Faith (Soul)
Depth of Gratitude (Spirit)
I live by the credo – Question Everything and Think About It. Doing so makes my questions multiply exponentially. I must stop writing this post now, but there will be more. I love this adventure called life!
Thanks to Stephen Covey, we know the Seventh Habit is: Sharpen the Saw!
Action item for you: write down below your questions and we will tackle them together in future articles!
Thanks for reading, Stever.