Matthew 6:24 | Poverty forces one to serve money

Biblical Context:

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/6

God XOR (________)


Poverty for the purposes of this forum:

  • Not the Catholic religious person who’s needs are going to be meet automatically by an organization. (Intentional Poverty, Needs are guaranteed).
  • Not the man who lives frugally since he donates an impressive amount of his 120K a year. (Intentional Poverty, Needs are guaranteed).
  • The employed single man who needs to think, in what order do I pay the bills, food insecure, and more. (Unintentional Poverty, Needs are not guaranteed to be meet).

Economic scarcity means every dollar becomes that much more important. (When you drop 2 $10 bills, what is your emotional reaction to this loss. For the poor man, those 2 $10’s matter more than to the rich man.

Proposal: Poverty makes one serve money, as opposed to offering immunity.


This post does not say:

  • The rich man is Holy.
  • Poor people are not good. Now let us pat ourselves on the back.
  • Trash talking the poor.

To focus the discussion on the question at hand, do not say…

  • Here is what a poor person ought to do to gain wealth.
  • Here is my self made man rhetoric.
  • Interrogation of the hypothetical poor person.
  • The discussion of Partisan Politics.

From my university economics class 50 years ago, what you’re talking about is the “marginal propensity to consume.”

You start off without funds and you get a dollar. Do you spend it ir save it? Well, you spend it immediately on whatever you can buy for a dollar.

So it goes for the next dollar and the next, and so on. I just looked up the current dollar figure for the poverty level and it’s over $12,000 /yr for a single person – what is needed minimally to survive.

So, if you want to say “poverty makes one serve money more” – well, that might be a way of saying it in poetic terms, owing to the instinct for survival.

In my hometown in central lower Michigan, 20% of the residents of the ciy of 34,000 live below the federally defined poverty level. I’ve seen a couple of these people. It’s impossible for me to help a homeless man with all his needs, especially when I see him smoking $7 a pack cigarettes – I can’t afford his lavish lifestyle.

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  • I do not wish to debate what income the individual must have to be qualified as poor. Lets just say their exists a person who is poor.
  • The example of what you personally can do to help poverty is not relevant in this instance as I challenge the assumption that poverty shields one from the corruption of greed and the worshiping of money as opposed to God.
  • The example of the individual smoking is not relevant to the refutation of the assumption that poverty shields one from worshiping Money as opposed to God.

I took my best shot at responding to your post, confusing as it is to me. A poor person’s needs resemble a form of worship, is that what you’re saying? I would agree that poverty is a constant burden.

I grew up in an environment of social security survivor’s benefits and scholarships and grants to make it through university, and ultimately three earned college degrees, a short career in the private sector, now a private pension and federal social security benefits, by the grace of God.

Scripture say, he who doesn’t work should not eat.

Paragraph 1: Loyalty to Money increases as poverty deepens. It just so occurs that the desire to full-fill ones needs and the conventional view of Greed as only a rich persons problem output the same decimation of Gods place as Master of your mind.

Paragraph 2: Not applicable as it is not relevant to the question, the servitude to a different master can occur in poverty as well, opposed to the Biblical Narrative that due to the existence of Heaven,

Paragraph 3: I wrote Post 1 with the intention that the man worked.

"31So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ 32All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. "
http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/6

The word of Jesus, who is God, says yes.

I don’t believe it is “serving money” to do whatever it takes to survive. That’s the best use of money, to service the human temple of God. In this case money is a servant, not a master.

Which doesn’t mean it’s impossible to give him a hand.
“Here’s enough money for a good meal, Mister Homeless Man.” --is worth doing.

A pack of smokes is ‘lavish’? And I suppose you’re aware that once you get the habit, nicotine is an addictive drug?

Uh, who’s claiming that (involuntary) poverty shields anyone from greed or worship of money?
In any case as I understand it, your claim is that poverty forces one to worship money.
I would reply that poverty tempts us to worship money. The temptation may be very hard to resist.

He who does not work. Not he who would work if he could but he can’t .

Later in that passage, Jesus says “your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…” (i would emphasise the word “need” if i knew how to)
Needing something doesn’t mean you worship, serve or prioritize it.
God knows we need money in this world (give to Cesar what is Cesar’s and give to God what is God’s)
There is nothing stopping anyone from needing to work for money but using the work as a means of serving God. Work for your wage or work for God…

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Immunity from serving money (mammon)?

God gives grace that one may overcome the inclination to sin. What is impossible for man is possible with God.

St. Thomas Aquinas defined natural wealth as something that “relieves man’s natural needs, such as food, drink, clothing, travel, shelter and so on.” It fulfills the needs of humans to live and “cannot be man’s ultimate end.”

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