There are few things which reveal a person’s heart so well as money. Consider the rich young man Jesus met (Matthew 19:16-22). He honesty wondered what good thing he must do to gain life without end. He had been faithful to keep God’s commandments. Jesus said, ““If you want to be perfect,”Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (vs. 21). Faced with the prospect of relinquishing his wealth, the rich man sadly departed.
If variety is the spice of life, money is the main course. A rich man could not let go of his possessions to gain eternal life. How tragically absurd! Why would a sincere man forfeit his ability to gain eternal life to enjoy a fleeting affair with finances?
There is nothing corrupt about coins or currency. Money is a necessary commodity for acquiring goods or services. What is dangerous is the excessive preoccupation people have for it. Money can effect the poor as much as the rich for craving can be as debilitating as clutching. Is it this unhealthy fixation which birthed the saying, “money is the root of all evil?” Consider three of the most visible tentacles protruding from this over-watered root:
Greed—“An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.”
Stinginess—“implies absence of generosity and often an inclination toward meanness of spirit.”
Idolatry—“Blind or excessive devotion to something.”*
If you believe you have a healthy handle on money you are a blessed person. No doubt you are experiencing the fruit of joy that comes from being generous. But before you or I merrily proceed down the path of bliss we ought to consider this: A close examination of Scripture reveals that the Israelites were expected to give over 20% of their income to God and His work. In our day it is not uncommon to hear brave pastors challenge their congregation to tithe 10% of their income. Perhaps no one has ever challenged you. So here's a self-test I encourage you to take.
How you and I answer these questions will reveal much about our character and how we are influenced by money.
It was a sad day for Jesus when the rich man walked away. It will be a sad day again if we forsake the cost of discipleship for the accumulation of wealth. There is a world out there starving to hear the good news, desperate for Bibles in their own languages, hungry for someone to come and teach words of life. They're not interested in how comfortable we are. Neither is Jesus, Who said, “Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). The word was deny not delight.
Don't fall victim to present temptations at the expense of future blessings. Jesus promised, “And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life” (Mat. 19:29). Now that's what I call a dividend!
*The American Heritage Dictionary
Proverbs 11:25,28--A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water . . . Anyone trusting in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.
It is easy for me to talk about what I could do with a thousand dollars if I had it; the test is what I do with the two dollars I have got. It may be hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but it is just as hard for a poor man to seek first the kingdom of God.—Oswald Chambers in The Highest Good
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)