Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil .. And its Foolish Too

Today I am going to talk about love once again.  I am not going to talk about the love of a person or even the love of God.  I am going to talk about a different kind of love that is on everyone's mind.  Today I want to talk about the love of money. 
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all [kinds of] evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  1 Timothy 6:9-10 NKJV
The love of money is not only the root of all kinds of evil, it is the expression of all kinds of foolishness.  We see that very much in the world today.  It seems as though our entire world is in financial turmoil.  Considering no money actually ever leaves the world, it seems rather odd that the world can be running out of money.  Yet we all fall for this lie and many seek after the riches of the world.  Today I want to talk about that kind of foolishness. 

First of all, it is foolish to love money because it is essentially imaginary. I know we use it as though it were real, but even in Monopoly you can use $400.00 in Monopoly money to buy Boardwalk.  Do we then call that money real?  Can you take that same $400.00 and go buy yourself and iPhone?  Of course not, it is play money whose only value is what the rules of the game say it is.  Such is the same for our world.  Our dollars have value in what the rules say it is worth.  Those rules are based on a complex system of how many there are in existence and how many people invest in our monetary system.  That is a gross oversimplification, but the fact is that a dollar is worth a dollar not because it has some intrinsic value, but because that is what the world says it is worth.  A dollar is not a real tangible thing, it is just printed on paper telling you that it is worth a certain amount of dollars.  Even if we look at tangible items like gold, the same thing happens.  Many use gold as money, but is gold really money?  It is a shiny yellow metal that for some reason has an intrinsic value attached to it.  Currently, the value of gold is worth a certain amount of imaginary dollars.  Does that make it real?  Is Boardwalk on Monopoly made real because it is worth a certain amount of imaginary dollars? Furthermore, its value is premised in how many people want to purchase it and how much of it there is.  What would happen to its value if no one wanted it anymore?  It would be worthless.  And so while money may have a very real effect on the world and even our lives, it only has that effect because we allow it to.  And being that money is whatever the majority of the world says it is, what will happen to our riches should that system change?  If the world stops using dollars, what will that green paper in your wallet get you? 

Being that money is imaginary in that it only exists within the rules of the world and being that we are in this world for a short amount of time when compared to all eternity, money is essentially temporary.  Loving something that only exists for a short amount of time is foolish in that you know you will be hurt in the end.  You know that this thing you love will at some point be separated forever from you.  The Scripture immediately preceding what I quoted earlier tells us that.
For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  1 Timothy 6:7-8 NKJV
We came into this world naked and owning nothing and will leave this world the same way.  Even if we have all the money in the world, it will remain in this world as we move to the next. 

And being that money is imaginary and temporary, it can not make you rich.  Just as in a game of Monopoly, you are only "rich" within the game and only for as long as the game goes on.  You may look rich, others may think you are rich, and you may even convince yourself that you are rich, but here is what God says.
Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.' Revelation 3:17 NKJV
No matter how rich you are to the world, you are not rich towards God.  In other words, you are not rich where it counts. Your money will not be there when you stand before God.  That brings me to my next point.  Money can not purchase your salvation.  You can not bribe God with riches and expect Him to allow you into His kingdom.  What a silly thought that would even be!  God, who created the world and all that is in it, does not need your money.  Your money is useless to Him.  God can created the Heavens and Earth from nothing, why would He ever need your money to buy anything?  Shall we give Him gold?  Even if there were potholes on the streets of gold, why would He need a repair kit from us?  It is utterly foolish to trust in our money for any standing before God. 
And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, [and] be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So [is] he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Luke 12:15-21 NKJV
Not only does money not work to save your soul, it works against you finding Jesus. 
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 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."  Matthew 10:21-25 NKJV
This is the encounter of Jesus with the rich man.  The rich man tells Jesus that he has kept all of the law since his youth, but Jesus points out the one thing he does lack.  Despite the man desiring eternal life, his trust and security was in his money.  He wanted nothing to do with a gospel that meant giving up his safety net.  Jesus promised him eternal riches, but sadly the man could not part with his earthly ones.  This is the same for rich people today.  They have no want of earthly possessions and so they feel no need for heavenly ones.  They are under the delusion that being rich means being rich before God, and we covered earlier what that means. 

And, finally, not only can riches not save your eternal soul, but they can not save your earthly life.  Sure with money comes better medical care and God in His mercy sometimes allows a brief extension of life from our modern technology.  They are not saving their lives, though, they are merely extending them a short while.  Death is inevitable, even for the rich.  Judgement is inevitable, even for the rich.  Everyone from the poor man begging on the street to men like Bill Gates will stand before God naked and stripped of anything and everything they once had and the only thing that will matter will be what they did with the Gospel.  Sadly, many will not realize until that time just how foolish their love of money was.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,  Hebrews 9:27 NKJV
The allure of money is strong.  We all want the "good" life and think that will make us happy.  Sadly, it will not.  Sure it may mask some of our misery, but it will never make us truly happy.  You see happiness results from contentment and money can never lead to contentment.  You either never have enough and if you do ever think you have enough you are in constant fear of losing it.  Many lost money over the past week on the stock market.  Billions (if not trillions) of dollars were lost over a few days.  In the past, even worse crashes inspired people to jump from their office windows, killing themselves.  So it is with the one who foolishly puts their love and trust in money.  Money has no loyalty and you can lose it just as fast as you can make it and many times there is nothing we can do to keep it.  The world has somehow run out of money and nation after nation is going into complete financial chaos.  Many who trusted in their wealth are now homeless and destitute and wondering how it all happened.  Many who trust in wealth no longer have any hope in this world and will end their own lives (and it has happened already).  Many have lost jobs, retirement accounts, homes, cars, and more and those who have trusted in those things are finally realizing just how poor and foolish they really are.  I pray God will use this to reach many for Christ and learn to put their trust in the One who will not leave them and the one who will lead them to true eternal wealth in the next.  I would rather walk the streets of gold in eternity than hold a few pieces of gold now.  Sadly, many would rather hold onto their gold now. Sadly, may would rather put their trust in the imaginary, temporary, worthless treasures of the world.  They will obsess over it and compromise any kind of righteousness to attain it.   In the end, they will have "pierced themselves through with many sorrows."  I only pray they realize just how foolish they are and turn to the true riches in Jesus Christ.  If you are in Christ, do not get caught in the allure of earthly riches no matter what some charlatan pastor may tell you.  They will only lead you astray and take your heart away from the true treasures awaiting you in Heaven. 
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 NKJV

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