But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10)

Fortunately my week began typically. I got my half cup of coffee, sat at my computer, and read my e-mail messages. As usual, Monday’s messages were over 75% spam. Most of them wanted one thing—money. The authors of the messages frequently promised me (whom they do not know) incredible sums of money if I give them information that allows them access to my money. Or, they promise me great monetary success if I will buy a product. Or, they challenge me to generosity that benefits them.

In most of my spam messages, people are confident that if they can stimulate my greed nerve, they can soothe (for a moment) their greed nerve.

Though I have witnessed it many times, I never cease to be amazed at the people who are convinced that money is the answer--the answer to problems; the answer to indebtedness; the answer to a desire for pleasure; the answer to significance; the answer to security; etc. Name the need, and someone thinks money is the answer [even in spiritual matters!].

Too little do we realize that money brings new problems--new forms of indebtedness that dig new, deeper holes [he or she who cannot manage little cannot manage much]; common substitutions of indulgence for pleasure that create enslaving addictions; a frequent introduction to despair.

This is not intended to be a slam on wealth! Some early Christians had wealth! Paul said to them (1 Timothy 6:17-19)--Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

He or she who can escape greed while having money is wise. He or she who defines self by relationship with God is wise. He or she who understands how to use wealth for God’s purposes rather than allowing wealth to use him or her for its purposes is wise. He or she who lets God’s values determine how wealth is used rather than allowing wealth determine how he or she is used is wise. He or she who refuses to measure self by “what I have” is wise.

May this be our ambition: “Who I am is determined by God. What I have is determined by God. How I use what I have is determined by God. Only God’s will measures me.”

Careful: Money does not offer us everything. To many, money gives only an internal emptiness and coldness. To the unwise, money costs rather than gives. “God, deliver us from the deceit of our own greed. Help us listen to You instead of deceiving ourselves.”

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 8 February 2007

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