Money is the God of this world. Some scholars think the word ‘mammon’ comes from an Aramaic root meaning ‘that in which people trust’. According to Warren Wiersbe, ‘ some people trust God, some people trust wealth, and some people try to do both. But when Jesus used the Aramaic word ‘mammon’, He personified wealth and described it as a god’, and He said we cannot serve both the God of heaven and the god of gold’.
The scripture says, ‘For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1 Tim. 6: 10). Of all the people who came to the feet of Jesus, the only one who went away worse than he came was the young rich ruler. In every way, he was an ideal young man who obeyed all the laws of Moses. But Jesus said to him that he was lacking one thing. Jesus knew that money was his god. His morality and good manners only concealed a covetous heart. To quote Warren Wiersbe once again, ‘money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master. If you possess money, be grateful and use it for God’s glory, but if money possesses you, beware’!
We Christians need to realize that from beginning to the end, the Word of god repeatedly emphasizes God’s ownership of everything we possess. In the words of David, ‘Praise be to you Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. your’s, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty, and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. your’s Lord is the kingdom, you are exalted as head over all. wealth and honor come from you. you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all’ (1 Chro. 29;11,12). Again in Psalms 24, he adds, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”(1). Therefore, we are only stewards of everything we have. A steward defines, Randy Alcorn, ” someone entrusted with another’s wealth or property and charged with the responsibility of managing it in the owner’s best interest. A steward is entrusted with sufficient resources and the authority to carry out his designated responsibility.
Stewardship is living with the awareness that we are managers, not owners; that we are caretakers of God’s assets, which he has entrusted to us for this brief season here on earth. Campus Crusade for Christ’s founder Bill Bright and his wife Vonette are sterling examples of this attitude. A 1997 Christianity Today article by Wendy Murray Zoba says that although the Campus Crusade had worldwide revenues in 1996 of $ 300 million, Bill Bright, at age seventy-five, and his wife Vonette, still raised their own monthly support from individual donors just like any other Campus Crusade staff worker. Together, they earned $ 48,000 annually ($ 29,000 for Bill and # 19,000 for Vonette). After Bill won the Templeton Award for progress in Religion in 1996, he relinquished the prize money in excess of $ 1 million – for a purpose of developing a ministry of prayer and fasting. All royalties from his books go to Campus Crusade. He lived in an apartment somebody donated to Campus Crusade.
At a time when Christian leaders sell their character just to make more money, may the life of Bill and Vonette Bright remain a comforting example.