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Mastering mammon: Unlock seven game-changing tips for a generous life

How to reject the false idol of more and money

6 min

The Christian life is often depicted as a battle. During my time as CEO for Stewardship, we have waged war against a worldly way of thinking about money. Over the years, we’ve dealt many a heavy blow to mammon by pointing people towards Jesus and the generous way of life He exemplifies. 

Jesus taught about mammon on a couple of occasions, and His takeaway point on both was that we can’t love mammon and God at the same time (Luke 16:13 and Matthew 6:24).

Jesus saw mammon as a force that draws us towards wealth, greed and materialism, and so away from Him. When we make material possessions, social status or money the focus of our life, we’re buying into the world of mammon. 

I’ve discovered that the best way to avoid being ensnared by mammon is by living an actively generous life with Jesus at the centre. You can’t serve two masters; so here are seven time-served thoughts that I have learnt during my time at Stewardship to help us honour Jesus and reject mammon. 

  1. God offers an abundant relationship; embrace Him fully. Our response to God’s infinite love can be too formulaic: go to church, give 10%, etc. Yet He calls us to be fully committed, ‘twenty-four seven’ disciples with no space for mammon – the false idol of more and money. This is not a call to destitution and poverty. This is a call to live in God’s abundant kindness and so to utterly reject mammon’s scarcity mindset based on the persuasive lie that we always lack enough money, power and ‘stuff’. Only Jesus brings a deep sense of being blessed with enough. Only from that fully satisfying place can we finally be free to be generous with the blessings He has given us to steward.

  2. Find your burning bush and be transformed. Moses pays the burning bush attention and then God speaks to him. How many burning bushes do we pass by in our lives? I have found that looking for God’s call is a great way to flourish. At 50 I went to work with the poor across Africa and Southeast Asia for World Vision. At 55, I came to Stewardship to serve amongst generous Christians and amazing leaders. At 60, I’m leaving Stewardship to go to CAP to help those looking to free themselves from debt and poverty. Each burning bush I paid attention to changed me and I can only say this has been the greatest adventure of my life. Each of us is called differently to love our family, to love our neighbour, to love others through our church or through a charity. Find your burning bush, pay it attention, and be transformed.

  3. Learn to live in God’s abundance to give generously from your blessings. Following mammon leads us to buy things and utterly hates us giving money away. Nothing offends him more than giving to a church or a gospel-hearted charity. So why is giving so offensive to him? Because it shows we love Jesus more than we love our wealth. Giving is always offensive to mammon, but if I might challenge you a little – giving out of surplus is a lot less offensive to Mammon than giving sacrificially and showing we depend on God, not on mammon. We are challenged by our Lord to change our relationship with money completely, and that will always be hardest for those with more.

  4. Show love for your neighbours through the ministries you support. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 Paul raises a gift from the Gentiles to the saints in Jerusalem to relieve their suffering. These chapters show clearly how God’s love flows through us and out to those in need. This is a spirituality of giving that connects us in a flow of God’s love. Our giving honours the two key commandments: to love God and to love our neighbour.

  5. Encourage greater boldness from your ministry leaders in asking for support. 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 also outlines a spirituality of fundraising that shows how much we receive by participating in the flow of God’s love through the ministries we support. This participation is so much more valuable than the actual support we give. Why? Because it is through that participation we take our treasure on earth and convert it into treasure in heaven. Who can read these chapters and not be compelled to ask ministry leaders to take our surplus and help those in need of God’s word and mercy?



  6. Ask for greater accountability from your leaders as stewards of God’s work. Paul was bold in asking for the gift in 2 Corinthians. But he was also highly accountable appointing Titus and an unnamed brother to administer the gift in a way pleasing to God and man. Thus, vision, mission, accountability and stewardship combine to allow leaders to be bold, supporters to be generous and our Lord to receive our first fruits. With this in place, how can mammon divert us with his temptations?

  7. Store your treasure in heaven through generous lives; do not hoard it on earth. Our last will and testament is possibly the most generous act of our lives as we must give everything away, yet the shocks that often come from the reading of a will have become a cultural cliché. How we prepare our loved ones to inherit can be a great gift to them. Leaving money to your favourite ministries can be a wonderful thing. But one thing I admire more is the radical outcome of a truly generous life. John Laing, the great builder and philanthropist, dealt with his family and his charitable affairs in his lifetime, leaving a will with just over £300. Yet he left a lasting legacy where his deeply Christian and radically generous life is celebrated by so many so long after his passing.

I leave you with one final point about a verse that has provided so much spiritual fuel for my generous life, particularly whilst leading Stewardship: ‘And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’ (2 Corinthians 9:8).

I love this verse so much that it is painted in the middle of the Stewardship office. For me it speaks of generosity moving us away from the secular scarcity mindset of mammon and into the Kingdom of God’s provision and abundance. This is not a prosperity gospel. This is a radical shift in our hearts, rejecting mammon and accepting Jesus as our Saviour.  

In fact, I relish how annoying our work is and continues to be for mammon, and I’m truly blessed to know that you’re on the same journey of living a generous life!


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