The Love of Money and the Pitfalls of Wealth
Paul’s teaching on the resurrection in the letter to the Corinthians gave him the perfect opportunity to give them some very practical instructions on giving, as a way for them to be involved in the Lord’s work. For many people giving is an uncomfortable subject. If a pastor announces he will be speaking on giving, he knows attendance will drop. However, Paul didn’t hesitate to bring up the subject, for he knew the lure of money to the human heart and the pitfalls that await the ones who succumb to that lure. It is this great apostle who penned the words in 1 Timothy 6:9-10:
“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Money is an important and powerful thing. Most of us feel as though we could use more. Someone asked one of the wealthiest men in the world how much money it would take to make him happy. He thought for a moment, then said, “Just a little bit more.” Let’s consider for a moment some of the things money can and cannot do.
1. The old saying, “Money talks,” is true.
Many people want their names associated with the people in their community who have wealth. There is no shortage of invitations to dinners, parties and memberships on boards of companies and even charitable organizations. Money may buy the company of others who have the titles and big names, but it cannot buy you the love of even one friend.
2. Money may bring you success, but it cannot buy you happiness.
Some of the unhappiest people I know are those who have everything they want of this world’s goods. Money often buys trouble. It offers the possibility of getting involved in things that lead to more misery simply because the restraint of the lack of funds is not there. The pursuit of success often leads to great emptiness.
3. Money can pay for the best doctors, hospitals, and medicines available, but it cannot buy you health.
Years ago, I heard one of the most famous movie stars of that time being interviewed. She was, without doubt, one of the world’s most beautiful women. She had made millions of dollars and was considered to be one of the most successful Hollywood stars and a very successful businesswoman. The reporter said to her, “You must be one of the happiest people alive today for you have everything your heart could desire.” Immediately this star replied, “No, this is not true. I cannot buy my health and I would give all I own to be healthy today.”
4. Money can enable you to travel the world over and enjoy all the amenities available in each place, but it cannot buy you a place in heaven.
In fact, it is most frequently a deterrent. Jesus said in Matthew 19:23-24, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
5. You cannot take your money with you when you die.
Someone asked the wife of a wealthy man who had died, “How much money did he leave?” She replied, “All of it.” While we cannot take it with us, we can use it wisely here and send its rewards on ahead. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
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All of this is not to say that money isn’t important; it is. Without it, churches would be forced to close their doors, missionaries brought home, and the work of Christian (as well as all other) charitable organizations brought to a halt. However, those of us who have been blessed with money should be quick to speak up and tell others that our happiness does not come from our possessions. We should set the example in giving of our resources to lay up treasures in heaven. This is the motivation behind Paul’s instructions.