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Yes, Sometimes We Can Serve Both God and Mammon
Image: Photo courtesy of Jessica Lynch and Charlie McGlynn

Yes, Sometimes We Can Serve Both God and Mammon

My congregation's experiment in using market values to grow our mission.

I've always believed that the church exists on earth for the sake of mission—the tangible, embodied love of Christ. It's the one thing we do on earth that we won't do in heaven. More than well-done music and a well-honed sermon in ...

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Displaying 1–10 of 10 comments

Carlos Ramirez Trevino

October 15, 2013  9:12am

God has obviously given D. Harrell a talent and with his congregation he has put it to good use. If this experiment served the needs of the congregation, then it also helped solidify and strengthen their sense of community, duty and service to each other. Wasn't this experiment similar to what some in the early church did when they sold what they had and gave it to the church to meet the needs of others in their congregation? When in S. Africa I visited the Krishna temple and saw the kitchens they have to feed children in schools and the destitute. Don’t we have a greater responsibility? We were called to tell the world about Jesus dying to reconcile us to God. But we were also told not to forget the widows, orphans and those in prison. These days we can add to that the hungry, unemployed, the financially strapped, students, and single mothers in our congregations. But above all, of course, is Christ. We do it not for profit or growth, but because in Christ we should provide and support each other. Our allegiance is not divided. We serve Christ and Him alone. But we must also care for each other.

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Paul Schryba

October 12, 2013  8:59am

Rick: We are called to not sin. The sins of Christians take away from their witness to Christ. Serving mammon, making material gain the first priority, is clearly sin. Far too many Christians are silent about the greed and money making priorities of our society, and complicit in it. For Christians to effectively bear witness, they must be 'in' the world, not 'of' the world. The aim of these individuals to create 'businesses' whose priority is service, not 'maximizing profit', does not take away from 'preaching' the gospel and the good news. It is the application of it, and not some kind of 'social engineering'. It gives Christian witness to the materialism and greed, the misplaced aims of worldly 'business' practices.

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Rick Dalbey

October 11, 2013  11:30am

Paul literally gave an early taste of fulfillment of this Matthew 25 scripture. He was persecuting Christians, taking away their homes and throwing them in jail. Jesus stopped him on the road to Damascus and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?” Saul echoes the very question of Matthew 25, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” Jesus’ identification with His disciples is so deep that if you mistreat a believer for their faith, you are mistreating Jesus in disguise. Saul was imprisoning the brothers and sisters of Jesus exactly because they were Christians and Jesus said, you are persecuting Me, which surprised Saul. There is nothing wrong with building non-profit Payday loan businesses, building printing shops or mobile grocery markets, or other businesses that benefit society, it is right and good, but this is not the primary mission of the church. Jesus was very clear about our mission and then we see it played out in Acts.

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Rick Dalbey

October 11, 2013  11:11am

Yvette, when the disciples ask at the beginning of matthew 24 “when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the END OF THE AGE?” He spends two chapters answering what the times will be like. He describes them with 3 parables ending with the judgement. The residents of earth are sent to hell for mistreating Christians who are persecuted and imprisoned for faith. He says, “to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine.” Who are His brothers? He tells us several times in Matthew. “And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” His brothers are disciples. This is not a passage urging us to alleviate world poverty and visit all prisoners in the world or risk going to hell. Its subject is the treatment if disciples in the end times. Some mistakenly use this passage to encourage social engineering.

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yvette moore

October 11, 2013  8:54am

Well the title was off-putting, but it did its job: it got me to read the article, which I liked. This church's program is kind of like a U.S. version of the microcredit programs many churches and nonprofit fund in developing countries to help impoverished women earn funds to send their children to school etc. except in this case the loan wasn't micro. I always thought we needed those kinds of microcredit programs here to help poor families themselves or others who don't have money to start their business. Banks are only an option if you already have money. Microcredit loans would be especially helpful when a person has a criminal history and can't get hired. To Rick: I get your offense at the title, but using money to help people help themselves is not serving Mammon; it is mission that helps "the least of these," Christ's brothers and sisters. That's a good thing. There's plenty of Mammon worship in our society today, but this isn' it.

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William Halverson

October 11, 2013  4:49am

Interesting article with a peculiar title. It is hoped that most read past the title. Truly, God and earthly wealth do not mix well. John 16:13 However,when He,the Spirit of truth,has come,He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority,but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Psalm 51:11 Do not put me away from before you, or take your holy spirit from me. 2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro in all the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.

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Jim sparks

October 11, 2013  1:46am

No, we can't "serve both God and mammon". However, we can rightly and carefully use mammon under the direction of God for the glory of God and the extension of His kingdom. This, in fact, is what the article states - even if the title is poorly worded.

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Rick Dalbey

October 10, 2013  9:47pm

"the decline in religiosity among younger people is not necessarily a decline in spirituality. Many young people are certainly religious about justice and social causes." So let's pander to them. Spirituality is spirituality, right? Welcome to apostasy.

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Jim Ricker

October 10, 2013  7:27pm

The title and the idea behind the title is ungodly. Either Jesus was correct or He wasn't correct. I'll take Jesus over any man or woman, any day, any time.

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Rick Dalbey

October 10, 2013  12:41pm

Daniel, if you pitched my church on a business-based social entrepreneurial competition I would also think you had lost your mind and vote to have you removed. This social engineering is a massive distraction from the primary mission of the church. Sure, the world is the only place you can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. It is also the only place where you have the opportunity to rescue those going to hell for eternity. You choose what you want the church to spend resources on. Jesus sent the 12 to preach the gospel, cast out demons and heal the sick. Then he commissioned the 72 to do the same. Then he commissioned the entire Spirit empowered church to do the same. All 12 apostles were martyred for preaching the gospel of salvation. Today we hold to a FORM of Godliness but deny the POWER thereof. Jesus said, “you cannot serve God and Mammon.” But if you want to change His words, go ahead. The mission of the church is spiritual. Social engineering IS NOT MISSIONAL.

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