Money Is An Active Agent Working Against Christendom
Money, you can’t live with it and you can’t live without it. Money is a vital part of our life. We all need money and most of us would like at least a little extra money for those special treats. Meanwhile, when we become so obsess or focused on money, we lose sight of what is important that is when the troubles begin.
Jesus sermon on Mount (Matthew 6:19-24) came with warning. He warned us against money into god. As part of His teaching, Jesus says that people should be rich in good deeds and love It is in such behaviour that true treasure can be found rather than in selfish acts.
Matthew 6:19-24 19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22″The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24″No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
If money becomes the master, it can lead to bad decisions, walking over others to get to the top, taking bribes or fighting over material possessions. Moreover, Jesus was not saying that to have money is wrong but rather values like love and freedom are more important and it can be easy to lose sight of these values when there is a prospect of financial gain. Jesus is saying that a life purely spent on gaining material wealth means that one will miss out on true wealth- such as building relationships with others, fighting against injustice and spending time with God. Jesus also goes on to talk about trusting God to provide you with what you need (Matthew 6:25-34).
The early Christians did not always get this right. In Paul’s letter to Timothy he writes:
“For the love of money is a root of all kind of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” 1 Timothy 6:10.
Riches are dangerous because their seductive power often causes people to reject Christ and His kingdom. The rich young ruler who turned sadly away after being told that he had to part with his riches to inherit salvation prompted Jesus’ statement, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24; Mark 10:23; Matthew 19:23).
A desire for riches can cause people to do almost anything—even to the extent of selling their souls. The result, Scripture warns, is anguish now and damnation later. According to 1 Timothy6:9-10 9Those 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. 10For 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.
An abundance of possessions can easily lead us to forget that God is the Source of all good. The people of Israel were warned of this before they entered the Promised Land.
(Deuteronomy 8:11-17).11Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
Nevertheless, the pursuit of wealth often results in wars. James 4:1-2 says this clearly and it is amply confirmed from world history that, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”
Instead of fostering more compassion toward the poor, riches often harden the hearts of the wealthy. Rich persons are often unconcerned about the poor at their doorstep. (Luke 16:19-31; Isaiah 5:8-10; Amos 6:4-7; James 5:1-5)
Isaiah 5:8-10 8Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. 9The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. 10A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine; a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.”
Amos 6:4-7 4You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. 5You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. 6You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. 7Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
James 5:1-5 1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the LORD Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
Money is not neutral; it is a power with a life of its own. It is a power that is even demonic in character. When Jesus uses the Aramaic term mammon, translated as money in the NIV, (Matthew 6:24) to refer to wealth, He is giving it a personal and spiritual character as a rival god. Mammon is a power that seeks to dominate us.
Hence, money is an active agent. It is a law unto itself—capable of inspiring devotion. It is tremendously instructive to stand back and observe the frantic scramble of people for money. And this does not occur just among the poor and starving. Even the super-rich still seek it furiously. The middle class continue to buy more houses, acquire more cars and purchase more clothes than they need. If money were only a medium of exchange, it would make no sense at all to attach such prestige to it. We value people in relation to their income. We give people status and honour in relation to how much money they have or appear to have.
We are not exempt as Christians. We can all be Christian and yet be complete materialists in our hearts. The question is, where do we draw the balance on safe riches in sight of God.
By Pastor Solomon
January 26, 2019
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