Myths of Mammon

The love of money, especially when you don't have it, can lead you to some crazy and hurtful choices. Long time friend Kevin Tupper from Virginia joins Wayne on the podcast to talk about his journey, especially how his pursuit of mammon drew him into a very dark place. But then God invited him out and in the process helped him understand the myths about money that led him astray, and how instead he could live in the simplicity of Father's care. Not only is it a great story of conversation, it unpacks Kevin's heart to help others deal with the myths of mammon and how to find yourself in a more spacious place with God caring for you.

Podcast Links:
You can follow Kevin's on his website at Simple Living With God
Previous podcast with Kevin, Kent Burgess and Mike Rea
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  1. I know this podcast was not about Amway, but I’m blown away by how people don’t get this; the subtlety and deception that people get sucked into. Would love to hear a program about Amway from former members where the entire time could be devoted to the ins and outs and how people came to their senses. I’m sure there’s a lot of similarity between Amway and a lot of other multi-level marketing schemes that are out there that in some ways border on the cultic.

  2. Wow…loved Kevin’s authenticity on sharing the realities of this world and the control and deception of that thing called money. It does distort so much of our values, and the simplicity of living loved in Father’s kingdom. I really understand Kevin’s story, as much of what Father needed to remove from my life has been the unwitting idolatry of money. It is encouraging to hear others on this journey, as what is shared is full of grace and humility.

  3. Hi…just adding my “e” voice to the others. The love of money is a huge trap…thankfully I’ve been away from gambling. What resonated with me is that this love of money can be such a large “pull” when we think we’re wanting good things. “I only want a good job w/ a steady income….I only want to be able to eat comfortably…” all good things in themselves. When they overshadow the priority that Father has which is relp w/ Him…then these good things become part of the problem too. Still processing…glad to know there are others on a similar journey.

    • Having just moved in with my 82-year old mother, I’ve come to see what a blessing it is not to be in love with stuff. I gave away a lot of my furtniture and other possessions that we really didn’t two of or that I realistically would not be usng anytime soon. The rest of what I moved into my mother’s hose is boxed up in the basement. I am down to a bedroom as my living quarters versus an entire apartment. I have use of the whole house, but it’s not like having your own place. But I feel called to such a time as this to be with my mother after the death of my father in November. It was only as I walked through this experience that I could really see the blessing of not being into “stuff”. Otherwise, it could have gone very hard for me to part with it, but thankfully, I could move in with my mother without much of a second thought to what I was giving up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses, but I am so thankful that I can be in this place in life relatively peacefully not consumed by what I don’t have.

  4. I had to stop the podcast half way through to reflect on some of what is being said. I stopped the player at “it’s impression management”. You guys flew right past that one but it struck me as significant at the very least – to me. I have never heard that phrase “Impression Management”. There is so much to think about in that. Not everyone can relate to it of course but I think it might be a great way to describe the deep, often hidden, motivation for nearly everything “uninspired by God’ that we do.

  5. Great visit Kevin – thanks! This story truly resonates with me. Interesting how God deals with everyone on there level. I never made tons of money in the market, but my investments were definitely my security, along with my unmatched business acumen (or so I thought). I once felt I was financially invincible. Not that I didn’t lose money from time to time, but I always knew that through MY efforts, through MY knowledge, through MY hard work, I would gain more than I lost. Then I lost the job I had enjoyed in banking IT for 18 years. Then I saw the small business my wife and I owned for 9 years go bankrupt. Then I found myself driving a forklift in a textile plant on third shift just to feed our family of 5. I did that for 18 months, went to a retail job that was horrible for hardly any more pay and did that for another 18 months. During this time our family was literally being fed by the ravens (family and friends giving us food, gas cards, money). By this time, I had nearly lost all of my confidence in my professional ability. I finally got a job with a small IT company doing similar work to what I had done at the bank. Pay was again – only slightly better, but this gave me a chance to realize i did still have good professional skills, but this time I was more humble. See, the time I spent in these horrible jobs, I also spent seeking the true and living God – not that two-sided caring loving tyrant (what?) I had grown up with, but the God who really holds this world in the palm of his hand. I spent lots of time reading my bible and meditating on what I read. Now back to the story. I had this last job with the IT company for 24 months and the boss sent me an email to say “Cliff, I love your work but unfortunately I can’t afford you any more.” So, I was now unemployed and because this IT job had been a contract job, I could not draw unemployment. I was unemployed for 9 months but this time it was different. Though it was very difficult, this too was a good time of growing closer to God. During this period was when a friend gave me a CD of Transitions which helped open my eyes and my heart to finally get to know the God I had known existed but couldn’t seem to find. Thanks Wayne! During this difficult time I still found myself questioning what in the world God was doing in my life, but for the most part I was confident that “God’s got this”. To survive, we ate up nearly all of my 401K which I had always considered the Holy Grail not to be touched under any circumstance. This too was an exercise in letting go of my worldly security. After being unemployed for 9 month, I was hired by a wonderful company in an area of the IT industry that I truly love. I do believe this was a blessing from God, but my daily challenge is to guard against that ever-present tendency to fall back into old prideful habits. Knowing I have a heavenly Father that I talk to everyday and that loves me more than I can imagine helps me stay grounded.

  6. Daryl – impression management could be a whole podcast, and for me it all tied together. YUCK!

    Cliff – your an inspiration.

  7. Cliff, thanks for telling your story. I hope it encourages many people still in those transitional months when it looks like they are in a dead-end job, but Father is shaping something so much deeper in them. And for those who wanted more on impression management, hold on to your hats. The Yuck Meter will air this Friday with Kevin and I continuing that discussion. The reason it appeared so briefly in this one is that it started a wonderful tangent to our initial conversation. But it was so long, we spliced it out and are presenting it as a separate podcast. That’s why it went away so fast, Alan! 😉

  8. I recently volunteered at a fundraising event for the non-profit I worked for. This was the first time I attended the event and I felt like I was watching a drama about the dangers of having too much faith in money. I thought it would be a positive experience of watching people give to a good cause. Instead the negatvity was palpable. Not all, but many of the people giving were giving to show how much they had to the others in the room. The consequences of that mindset were so obvious. So many people were impatient and just seemed resentful. The people caught up in this had no interest in connecting with the people in the room. It seemed their focus was totally on making sure they were seen by the right people at the right time to increase their self worth by showing off their net worth. It was definately a difficult thing to watch and felt for the people caught up in it.

  9. Thanks for the podcast guys.

    Having had a background in finance, I’ve had to deal with my obsession with money head on, becoming frustrated having all the knowledge at my disposal but not having the means to put that knowledge to use. I never had the inclination, as Kevin, to use other people’s money to attempt to build financial security. One thing I was taught in the financial world ,that stayed with me, is to never invest in something you don’t fully understand. Now in the spiritual world, that principle doesn’t quite work, because we will never fully understand God. Thankfully, there are two different economies at hand. The return I receive from my investment in God far outweighs the return I receive from my financial investment, though it cannot be measured in human terms. I’m sure you guys would agree.

  10. Good to hear Wayne, I thought you guys might have just drilled right past a vein of good ore there. 😉

  11. The one thing that really struck me on this podcast was the remark (by Wayne? i think) that God was with Kevin even in the midst of all of his self-deception and wanderings in the proverbial desert… that God was there to walk Kevin out of it, eventually.

    Can that be? Can Jesus really be with us when we are “in sin” ? when we willfully and obstinately choose the wrong path for selfish reasons? He doesn’t turn his back on us or distance himself or wag a disapproving finger or look at us with disapproval and disappointment? somehow i think…. maybe. Maybe he is that loving. It doesn’t necessarily even change the rebellion or the determination to pursue selfish ends, but it presents a very odd situation— talking to him even in the midst of sin. How can that be? He is repulsed by sin, isn’t he? That’s the last thing he wants to talk about, right? But if we can’t talk to him in the very midst of even the worst of our brokenness and betrayal, then we are essentially saying that we have to clean ourselves up before we can talk to him and that contradicts everything about Jesus and the cross.

    so we may not know how to talk to him when we are rebelling. we may not even *want* to talk to him in these times, but somehow… he keeps the lines open and even when we run in circles with our fingers in our ears and yell, “Na na na na na na na na!!!” we are communicating to him.

    could he really be that wonderful?

    this, to me, is the difference between a “God of the BIBLE” and a loving father who is ever-present to us. the god that i can only find in the pages of a book can be easily ignored and explained away. a loving presence in my heart and experience is simply there. i cannot do anything about it. like C.S. Lewis’ analogy in “The Problem of Pain,” it is his desire to change us and he will get his way eventually. He will not go away, take a vacation, go off in a frustrated huff, get interested in someone else. It is at once the most comforting notion and the most terrifying. We are not alone and can never be alone and will never be left alone.

  12. Alan, we’ve done it before, so it is not unthinkable! When I listen to old podcast bits, especially with others lots of phrases come up in my mind that I wish we’d have explored further. That’s the problem with a conversation, too many forks in the road and you can’t take them all. But it is fun seeing where they lead.

    Glen, love that! He is that wonderful and why wouldn’t he be? When I saw the world divided into insiders and outsiders I only wanted God to be gracious to the insiders. Now I want God to be gracious to everyone. If he is not revealing himself to them, what hope have they of ever coming to him?

  13. Hi Wayne and Kevin,
    Thanks for the podcast. I Listened to it twice and I’m trying to make sense of it. I have a question. Doesn’t God as our provider and father want us rich? We are his kids and he is a loving Father, right?? I want everything for my kids including financial success. Any thoughts for me? I’m not making light of the gambling and using others to get ahead, nor do I agree with that. I’m referring to working at a job that brings abundance and living with expectation of Gods continued provision over our lives because he cares for the Lilly’s of the field how much more is his love for us. I get the seek first the kingdom of God; however he tells us all things will be added to us. I take that as financial success too??? Help?? 🙂

  14. Denise, interesting question. I do think God wants us rich in all the things that matter, but money is not one of those things. Paul talked about our contentment in times of great need and in times of abundance. If by financial success you’re talking about the joy of paying your bills and having some left over to bless others, that’s an awesome goal. If you mean to be wealthy in material terms so that we can by anything we want, I don’t think we’re promised that. I know believers all over the world who live in all kinds of financial realities from great wealth to extreme poverty, and some of the latter by choice in how Father has asked them to live their lives. I don’t find one more godly than the other. God reminds us it is far better to have less with a joyful house, than to have much and watch it tear people apart. But I’ve never believed the teaching that all Christians are supposed to be materially wealthy. Some are. Some aren’t and I think that’s more up to what God gives and how we use it, than it is what we’re all supposed to do…

  15. Great comment, Wayne. And to Denise, I hear what you’re saying. There is alot in the Bible that talks about following God and being materially blessed because of it. I too want my kids to be materially blessed… but I think you would agree that as a parent, I would rather them be poor and have a heart that seeks God, than to be materially blessed and selfish. And I think God’s heart is similar on the matter. I think he would want us to be in abundance in every (good) way. But His primary concern is the state of our hearts. I’m not saying that if you’re materially blessed then you are bound to be evil, but I think it is clear in the Bible that money can cause more problems for the heart than poverty can. And looking at Jesus, I think we can agree that his Father loved him, yet the Father didn’t see it necessary to pour out an abundance of earthly things to show his love and appreciation for doing what he said, and I don’t think that was even Jesus’ desire in the first place. Jesus’ only concern was the Father’s will, and I believe he wants us to join him on the other side of that yoke. I might give my kids a material reward to encourage them to obey me, but I would hope that some day they would grow out of that and our deeper relationship would be better than enough and obedience would not even be a question because love would rule.

    Also, I think it’s good to remember that the Bible is telling us a story. And like all stories, it progresses so that later facts can trump previous facts. I think Paul’s comment about being content does not contradict scripture regarding God giving people material blessings as a result of following Him, but I think Paul’s comment is a higher truth. Jesus specifically said things that trumped previous scriptures that people were holding on to. For example in Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Jesus doesn’t contradict the previous scripture, but he trumps it with a deeper/higher truth than what was stated earlier in the grand Story found in the Bible. This higher truth penetrates deeper into the heart of man, and sheds light on the heart issue, what actually causes murder in the first place. This is why it is important to view all scripture through the Man that is the subject of the story. Let’s start with Jesus and let the rest of scripture enfold him like a garment.

    We are blessed… God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph 1:3), and THAT is a more abundantly rich blessing than anything earthly… so much more abundant that Paul was able to say that earthly things were now negligible to his contentment.

  16. Hi Denise

    I probably had some similar questions to you on the podcasts … you’re not alone. I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘success’? Joseph was called successful (Gen 39:2) because the Lord was with Him. He was still a slave at the time – he had nothing. I’d like to move completely to a place where I believe that I am aleardy success because God is with me. Religion says it’s something we must become? What if we simply believe we already are because Papa is with us? How does that change the success picture in our heads?

    My journey out of christian religion crossed a ‘never going back’ line when God showed me that He offered me financial freedom not financial security. We get this mixed up. Seek first the kingdom which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – the person of God. That’s security and then everything else is added – freely!

    What I currently see in scripture is that wealth is offered to us as believers – as stewards. It’s about learning to steward wealth rather than gather it. So when Paul says he is content whether abounding or being abased it’s in the context of being a steward. A steward knows that he is handling something that belongs to another so whether there is a lot or a little is irrelevant. So I think I probably see it a bit differently – that God wants us rich in every area including finances, but it’s not about ownership and all about stewardship.

    I think it comes down to seeing a difference between the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘material’ blessings. I am finding that when I can see I am already blessed because of what He did and who I am in Him, rather than trying to get more blessed, the division is irrelevant because it doesn’t exist. Seeing His provision and living in that has helped me avoid the ‘get more to show I am blessed’ mindset. As a family we are starting live with what we have in our hands and letting Him fulfill the desires of our hearts. It’s fun.

  17. I love the term financial freedom instead of financial security, Steve, because that works with ANY level of income. To be free of the anxiety of finance or the greed of wanting more and living in the joy of Father’s provision and stewarding what he’s already given us is a much better solution.

    It would also be eye-opening to see how each of us define, ‘wealthy.’ It’s almost always in comparative terms and when does anyone say they have enough? The truth is if you’re lower middle class in America you are INCREDIBLY wealthy in world terms. We have more conveniences and luxuries in the average home in West whether it’s rented or owned, than people in the past could have ever understood. And if you measure our lifestyles in historical terms its more ridiculous still.

    The riches of God’s life and grace, are the true riches and it has nothing to do with income level…

  18. Same thing with the term “financial independence,” Wayne. There is no such thing. Financial freedom works so much better.

  19. How timely this podcast is! We just stepped out of the Amway business in January of this year(we live in VA too). I cannot say enough how relieved I am to be out of that bondage! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “financial independence” while being in Amway. I agree, financial freedom is MUCH better!

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