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Spirit of Mammon (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 7 of 10
I remember when I made the decision, put in my resignation, made the decision to let go, and do what God wanted me to do - I was in tears, uncontrollable tears, for almost three days; with fear of what was going to happen to me, and my family. The spirit had such a grip around me.

I remember just weeping, and going through this dread, that I'd done something terrible to my family and to our future.

I had fears about how I'd provide, because the job that I picked up in ministry - my wage went down by 75%! I got 1/4 of what I'd been getting; so we had very little to go on.

What happened was, this overwhelming fear that: I'd not have enough, that I wouldn't be able to provide for my family's education, their clothing; and when it came later on to weddings, I wouldn't be able to provide for weddings.

It just come around me, and along with it, tremendous shame at not having much.

It wasn't helped by Christians, you know? They actually were incredibly unkind, and some of the worst difficulties I had were with Christians.

God was teaching me to break free of the control of money, and learn how to lean on Him, and depend on Him; but I had to make a change in lifestyle, and in heart attitude. I had to learn to let go of all of the things we had; and learn to be grateful for the little things we had.

So we couldn't buy meat; we would go and buy, with some other guys, six sheep. We'd kill them all, and do them all - and then we would have meat, and the rest of the time we didn't have meat, but I was thankful we could do that.

We would come up here (to Hastings), and I'd bring a trailer up, and we'd go round into the orchards, and we'd pick up apples off the ground and put them into boxes, take them back and store them right through winter. We had apples all winter.

There are many things that Joy did, over the years, because we just didn't have the income; but what God was dealing with was: the fear of not having enough; and teaching us: He can, and does, provide - and He is to be trusted.

Now the first time I ever had money for a wedding was when the first wedding came; but prior to that never had I any excess in my account, always I was on the edge all the way. But God made a way, and we never lacked.

We had holidays. I didn't have a car for a while. We just drove around on bikes, but we learnt - the biggest thing I learnt - was to be content to trust God; and to become generous with what we did have.

So it affected the way we bought a house - the way we did everything. Everything was affected, learning to break out of the Spirit of Mammon, and the dread and anxiety and fear it would bring around every aspect of life and provision.

If we didn't have much (we didn't have much), we thanked God, and we celebrated with what we had.

So we'll share with you some of the keys around that, but the big thing is: the spirit that was behind it; and to break free of that spirit was the major first step for me to get into ministry - the biggest obstacle of all, was the Spirit of Mammon. What will happen?

We've had to learn to develop a generous lifestyle; so you know, the fear of provision, and the embarrassment…

I remember one of the first times I went to my friends in Wellington. We had a reunion after being in university; and of course they're all highly skilled professionals.

We all came out of the same physics class, we were all graduates with honours or masters or doctorates, come to meet them for the first time; and they've all got everything that money can buy.

We just had a little humble car, we were struggling; and you could tell from the way they looked - just the despising of where we were at; and it took me a bit to get over the shame, to actually say: “No, God I thank you I've got six wonderful children, I have a wonderful wife, and we are serving you, and I'm content with that”.

I had to overcome the feelings. Later on in life, we've realised that all that glitters isn't gold. In fact actually, they're all in bondage, and they've all had problems of every kind ever since; not the least being marriages breaking up, and children that went off the rails; so I've learnt to be content.