The words from Abba’s 1976 hit, “Money, Money, Money”, encapsulate the average person’s view of wealth. Although riches can be relative, from a cynical, political point of view, socialism demands a bigger share of what is available while capitalism wants to hold on to what it has and get more. That is why many youngsters struggling with debt tend to be the former while the older generation, the latter.
Dependence on others is what most individuals wish to avoid and this is the key to why money is so relevant to society. Without sufficient of it one lacks security, and reliance upon state benefits, credit cards, loan sharks, food banks can become the norm which can then end in homelessness.
Sadly, those who have ample resources still want more. Money not only covers ones needs, wants and independence but can then be a source of influencing others for good or bad i.e. power. Indeed, some wealthy people give the impression they want to take their riches with them when they die!
Around two thousand years ago a rich, young man came to Jesus and asked Him,
“Good Teacher, What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The young man said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother, and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:16-22 The Bible
It is clear this young man was upright and generous to his fellow men. Thank God for the generosity of people like him today. Of course there are famous benefactors like Bill Gates of Microsoft but also many ordinary people who give their time and money for charitable causes.
There are several big issues regarding money which the above story highlights. Firstly, we are all accountable to God. If the young man didn’t recognize Jesus as God he did realize Jesus had divine authority, Secondly, he was hoping to please God with good works, lastly he wanted to remain independent of God with his wealth.
For a non-Christian, good works have no merit with God because we can never meet God’s standards and one is acting independently of Him which is what sin is. Eternal life is only possible by repentance, confession and faith in Jesus Christ i.e. recognition that my life needs to turn about, acknowledge honestly to God your sin and believing that Jesus died for you sin and was raised again for your justification freeing one from guilt.
However for a Christian the desire to be independent of God in various aspects of one’s life, but especially money, remains until death. That is why Paul, the apostle told Timothy, another young man “ Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people 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. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses”. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 The Bible
As this article was being written the word “root” (from the Greek rhiza from which we get rhizome) directed thought to Japanese Knotweed where a tiny piece of rhizome left in the soil will spring a new plant to life powerful enough to penetrate concrete and render land worthless. May we constantly root out any trace of the love of money in our lives and thus remain completely dependent on our Lord and God.