Do You Serve God or Mammon?

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Our world today is more materialistic than it has been for millennia—maybe more than it has ever been. Today's society is obsessed with greed and possessiveness. Mankind today worships material things and places their acquisition as the first priority in life.

Our world today is more materialistic than it has been for millennia—maybe more than it has ever been. Today's society is obsessed with greed and possessiveness. Mankind today worships material things and places their acquisition as the first priority in life.

Some of this "gimme" obsession rubs off even on professing Christians. The Apostle John wrote: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:15-16).

Can we honestly say that we do not love the world while we watch hour after hour of television? Many church members watch more murders taking place every week than most people would ever see in a lifetime in the real world—bad as it is! And the incessant "get, get, get" philosophy, which permeates television commercials and many of the shows themselves, certainly does rub off on us too.

We are not immune to Satan's broadcasts!

And what about the television and rock music "idols"? How many of us realize that the deep emotion, shouting and cheering that often welcomes a sexually licentious or even blasphemous rock star is a perversion of the fervent adoration and worship that belongs only to God?

Having lived abroad for four years of my adult life, I have seen firsthand that we in North America, more than most anywhere else in the world, do tend to worship material things. Yes, worship! For vast numbers of people in the United States and Canada will do just about anything in order to own a house, a car, a computer—even a second, third or fourth television set. A man may take two jobs and work such long hours that he wrecks his health. The wife, even while her children are small, may also choose to work long hours outside the home, sacrificing those precious hours that she could be spending with her growing children, on the pretext of "buying them things"—instead of teaching them, training them and building within them a deep and abiding sense of security and self-esteem.

"But we just couldn't make it if we didn't both work," the typical North American couple might exclaim. Make it? Make what? Would your family starve to death? Would they be unclothed or homeless? In almost every case, the honest answer is: No! The family would just have a smaller house. Or a smaller television set. Or would have only one car instead of two.

Of course, our exploitive society also pushes some people into genuine poverty, in which case a woman virtually has to work outside of the home. Often, in such cases, a husband has literally or figuratively left the family. There would be no food on the table if the wife or mother did not work. Yet for every case like this, there are countless more in which, if she were honest about the difference between her needs and her wants, a wife and mother could stay home if she and her husband were genuinely frugal.

You see, some of us in the U.S. and Canada are so accustomed to absolute affluence that even some of you readers may feel a little uncomfortable as you read this Personal. But I can assure you that millions of people in Britain, Europe and Asia think it is both pitiful and amusing that North Americans feel that they "need" so many extravagant material comforts—comforts that were unheard of until the last generation or two.

Yet millions of North American teenagers feel that they would figuratively "die" if they could not have their own cars, stereos, computers, video games, designer clothes and other material gadgets.

People young and old will work themselves into a fanatic desire to possess material things. These things, then, and this desire, become a form of idolatry. If we are to be God's people, we must recognize materialism for what it is, and repent of such a selfish and rotten approach to life.

We must stop allowing crass materialism to affect the quality of our spiritual lives, our families and our children. We must put God and His way of life first—ahead of any material things. We must learn to seek God and His ways above all other things. After describing how God will take care of all our material needs, Jesus Christ said: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

To be true Christians, you and I must really do this. The staff of Tomorrow's World magazine is striving to do this in every respect, and to restore the true values of Apostolic Christianity. We strive, however imperfectly, to put God first. That is why we publish millions of magazines and booklets, and purchase hundreds of hours of television time every year—and never charge you readers even a penny to receive the plain and precious truths that are right there in your Bible!

All of this obviously costs money. And it has all been made possible through the financial support of a comparatively few thousand supporters and co-workers who have, of their own accord, decided that they want to have a part in helping to preach and publish God's warning message as a witness to all nations.

Notice this scripture: "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1, KJV). In context, this verse clearly shows that all true Christians should be workers together with Christ in reaching the unconverted world with His message. And there certainly is a lot of work to do! Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). We cannot, therefore, put a price tag on the precious truth of God, and the warning message in the pages of this magazine, which must go to all the world, regardless of how the world responds. Today, as in apostolic times, God is raising up a growing family of co-workers—laborers together with Christ—who are helping out financially, morally and prayerfully in this Work of God!

To those readers who have voluntarily, of their own free will, expressed a desire to help us, I send a monthly letter sharing the "inside" news—and sometimes the financial condition—of this Work. Some people never overtly say, "I want to be a co-worker"—they just add themselves to our co-worker list by sending in such tithes or offerings as they choose. But this magazine is sent to all who request it, never with any charge. And our television program never begs, nags or pleads for money—or engages in the common practice of selling "things" to our viewers. If we did, we would be falling victim to that same materialism that has so wrecked our society and turned its focus away from the true God!

In our society, many profess Christianity, but practice Mammon-worship. Most professing Christians have "watered down" Jesus' true teachings so that they scarcely resemble what He and His original followers taught. They want to practice a "cafeteria Christianity"—taking what they want from Christ's message, but living their own lives as they please—sometimes putting God first, but other times putting first their hunger for more and better material things.

We in this Work of God strive to be different! We understand that God's Word must be preached to the world as a witness, just before the end of this present age (Matthew 24:14). The world must be given the opportunity to hear that it has rejected God's Way—the Way that would bring genuine peace, harmony, prosperity and untold blessings from the Creator of heaven and earth.

We are here to serve all you readers and to do all we can, as God allows, to reach the world with His vital end-time message. We are striving to "buck the tide" of materialism, and show by our example and by our words the \way of give\ that Jesus Himself taught. May you, too, take to heart Christ's message and put Him first in your lives, in every way, instead of making an idol of material things. As Christians, we should be able to say, as did the Apostle Paul: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, KJV). May that be our goal!


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