Once upon a time, a king comes across a poor but happy peasant man and his family while taking a walk outside his palace. The king kept wondering why every one of them looked joyful though they live in abject poverty. After some days, the king decides to pass that way again, and this time the family was having so much fun as they play around laughing and jumping around.
Coming back to the palace, the king asks one of his advisors to explain to him why the peasant and his family live in peace and joy despite their poverty. Responding, the advisor tells the king that they do not belong to the “99 club”, “what’s the 99 club?” the king inquires, and the advisor begs him to spare 99 gold coins, and in few weeks he would understand what it means.
Getting the bag of 99 gold coins, the advisor drops it at the door of the peasant man at night while everyone was asleep. In the morning, the man sees the bag and opening it he finds gold coins and joyfully counting he records 99 gold coins. For a moment, he starts to think that one coin is missing, “how could it be 99 coins, not 100”? He thought. Recounting the bag of coins several times could still not make a difference in the figure.
For the first time in a long while, the peasant loses his joy and becomes irritable. He calls his family together not to share the pleasure of getting a miraculous bag of 99 gold coins but to ask if anyone, by any chance, saw one gold coin. When he could not get a definite answer, the joy in the family started to dwindle. Passing the areas after one week with the advisor the king could not see that joy, he saw earlier. Responding to the king, the advisor tells him that the peasant had joined the 99 club as he is desperately looking for one gold coin when he has 99 of them he could enjoy with his family.
Between God and Mammon
In the Gospel today (Luke 16:10-13), Our Lord Jesus Christ ends the instruction on the right use of wealth by leaving his disciples to choose between God and mammon as much as nobody can conveniently serve two masters. Notice here that our Lord calls mammon a master, and we know that master stands for a person who has power over another; in fact, a master holds a relationship of control over the one who is under him.
God needs no introduction; He is the creator, owner of the universe, and the whole of creation and everything seats under Him, including mammon. God is, indeed, the source of our being. Addressing the Greeks in the Areopagus St. Paul maintains that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). In the testimony of St. John about the Word who is God (John 1: 3) he says, “all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing that has been made.”
Mammon comes from the Greek word, mammonas which means money or material wealth. Money is a good thing as it could solve a lot of problems; in fact, the Book of Ecclesiastes (10:19) says that money answers all things. However, there is another angle which tells us that the love of money is evil; in fact, the root of all evil. Some eager for money have strayed from the faith and have involved themselves in many troubles (1 Tim. 6:10). Notice here that the love of money is the ROOT of all evil, not the FRUIT. The fruit is what we see, but the root lies beneath, and we don’t easily see the root.
The real reason why most people rise very early in the morning to work and come back late tired and exhausted is the desire to generate money that could serve some material needs which includes food, clothing, and shelter among others. Most People go into businesses and other endeavors because of the income they could generate from them.
Generally, the bible does not condemn working to generate income; in fact, the Psalmist says that you shall eat by the labor of your hands and all shall go well with you (Psalm 128:2). Again St. Paul says that whoever does not work should not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). What God detest is when we place work and income above Him or when we neglect social justice and morality in our pursuit for money like the prophet Amos (8:4-7) mentioned in the First Reading today.
Moving Forward: Money is not everything, but God is!
Materialism is one of the major obstacles to our spiritual growth and development because it turns our attention from God and keeps our focus on what we can get and how much we can hold. Life is not all about what we can get than what we can give. In giving we increase; the Word of God says that blessed are the hands that give than the one that takes (Acts 20:35).
It is not uncommon to hear most people talk about pursuing money. The reality is that if you set out to go after money, you will never get enough. The real key to wealth is to embrace your passion, and with that you make impact, and the impact would drive income.
The real Master we must follow always is God because He is the source of our resources. Our Lord Jesus Christ maintains that those who righteously seek God would have other things, including material wealth, added unto them (Mathew 6:33). As we march into a new week, let us try to reappraise our Christian commitment and stand with God as the ideal master of our lives.
Have a glorious Sunday and a wonderful week ahead. God bless you!