Some people spend their entire lives trying to accumulate as much money as they possibly can. They can’t get enough of it. When they have more than they would need even if they could live two lifetimes, they still try to get more. Everything else – family, friends, worthy causes, their country, etc. – is relegated to a position of secondary importance.
We are currently in the middle of a major election campaign, and politicians are organized to the max sending out requests for money. I received an email that said, “Del, my campaign treasurer checked the list of contributors and your name was not on it. What’s wrong?” Nothing was wrong! The implication was that if I didn’t send a generous amount of money to the candidate that very day, our democracy would totally collapse.
Money has great value for the simple reason that we live within the framework of an economic system. We must have money to purchase the things we need – homes, food, clothes, education, transportation, medical needs, etc. Our need for these things makes money both important and necessary –but money does have limitations. For example, it will buy:
- A bed but not sleep.
- Food, but not an appetite.
- Books, but not wisdom.
- Fine clothes, but not a sunrise or sunset.
- A house, but not a home.
- Medicine, but not health.
- Luxuries, but not peace.
- Amusements, but not joy.
- A Bible, but not salvation.
- A church pew, but not heaven.
The poet Robert Burns once said that a person should not marry for money, but he recommended that a person go to where money is to fall in love. A woman in Oklahoma apparently believed this to be good advice. She refused to marry her boyfriend on religious grounds — she worshiped money, and he was broke. She wanted to marry a man who could consistently support both her need and her greed. She didn’t know that a person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it.
Money can provide the basic necessities every family needs. It can also help to advance the kingdom of God by supporting the outreach and ministry of a local congregation, and by sending missionaries to proclaim the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth. At the end of our lives on planet earth we will leave our money behind – all of it — and we will never see it again.
I have conducted literally hundreds of funerals, and I have never seen a Brinks truck carrying the deceased person’s money travel with the funeral possession on the way to the cemetery. What we have given to God to advance His kingdom and to bless others will be ours forever. We are stewards, not owners.
God’s Word makes it clear that there is nothing either wrong or sinful about possessing money – even a tremendous amount of it – as long as the money we possess does not possess us.