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For the Love of Money

“Money isn’t everything, but it sure beats whatever comes in second place.”

Light-hearted as this statement seems, it is really the feeling of most people today. Rising costs of living and the desire to “beat the Joneses” result in an increasing demand for higher-paying jobs, while positions such as teaching and nursing are passed by. Young people are choosing occupations which are easier and which bring in more pay, less working hours, and thus more time for fun and leisure.

Why the frantic scramble for more money? Why do people place such a high value on material things? Many wish to climb the “ladder of success, to gain an enviable position in society, a place of importance in the eyes of the world. Others, thinking that money is the key to happiness, shower expensive gifts on their children, hoping this will settle their problems and misunderstandings. Still others wish for money in order to wallow in luxury and live a life of ease.

Money is usually defined as “anything that passes freely from hand to hand as a medium of exchange.” In terms of money we count our past gains, measure our present incomes, and store up value for future needs. The term “need” is often misinterpreted. What many people consider necessities are things they could easily live without. Television, dishwashers, and boats are only a few examples.

We ourselves are in no way exempt from these remarks. Don’t we also long for many of these luxuries? Don t we often “forget our catechism or Sunday collection, while the money always seems to be handy at other times when we need it? Don’t we often spend our money hastily and foolishly, and then turn right around and complain how high the school tuition is?

Concerning the advantages of being poor, James says in his epistle, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?” This does not mean that the poor man is promised salvation on account of his poverty; nor does it mean that poverty in any way merits eternal life, any more than the wealth of the rich is a sin. However, the Bible doesn’t hesitate to point out the many advantages which the poor have over the rich. The poor man has fewer temptations and is more apt to live according to God’s will. He is constantly reminded of his dependence upon God and is spared the danger of trusting in riches. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

The perils of the rich are continuously repeated throughout the Scriptures. “For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth; so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways” (James 1:1.1). “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (Isa. 33:1). In James 5, James addresses the wealthy–. They heaped up treasures and seized money they would never have an opportunity to use. These riches were neither a blessing to themselves nor to others, but were simply deteriorating by being hoarded. Imagining themselves to be rich, they were really most poor and miserable!

What a marked contrast between those who are rich in terms of this present age and those rich in terms of that age to come! Paul warns in I Timothy 6:17-19, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” The wealth of this earth is only transient, uncertain, and will soon pass away. Therefore, we must put our trust in God, who provides us with all things necessary for body and soul, for time and for eternity. With our hope fixed on God, we can be confident and unafraid, knowing that our real treasure is in heaven. God is ever true to His promise. He is the God of love. He richly provides!