While we all love the ‘mountain-top’ experience where life is great and all is going as we want it to go, the ‘valley’ experiences are actually the times when we are pushed to give up or grow up. I would say then that this period of recession is a good time for us to assess if we are serving the Lord or serving money.
Money as an entity is neither good nor bad. It is the heart of the person handling the money that is either good or bad and will cause the money to be used for good or bad purposes.
The positives of money
1. Money gives a form of earthly security:
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
Wisdom preserves those who have it.
(Ecclesiastes 7:12, NIV)
As this verse states, though, wisdom still remains the key for successful living. A foolish person handles money foolishly and erodes whatever security the money could have provided.
2. Money can buy anything …..
A party makes you feel good,
wine makes you feel happy,
and money buys anything.
Ecclesiastes 10:19, NCV)
But money can’t buy you health or life when you’re faced with an incurable disease; money can’t buy you love or true friendship; money can’t buy you a place in Heaven for eternity.
The dangers associated with money
1. We easily place value on ourselves and on others based on how much money is possessed:
Even his own neighbors despise the poor man, while the rich have many “friends.” (Proverbs 14:20, TLB)
See also Proverbs 19:4 & 7.
2. The pursuit of money can lead us down the wrong path:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)
3. Money easily becomes an idol in our lives:
The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God or better put, an idol is anything we love more than God. The truth is that the heart of man is deceitful and it would take some honest soul-searching to reveal some of the hidden idols in our hearts. In order to help us determine what it is we truly love, here’s a litmus test:
The evidence that we love something is our pursuit of that thing.
So the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
- “What am I pursuing the most?”
- “What do I spend my time most on?”
- “What preoccupies my mind most?”
- “What is my greatest treasure that I would never give up?”
Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (Luke 12:34, TLB)
God looks beyond the words we speak and the things we do; He looks into our hearts which are open before Him. We might be able to deceive others and even deceive ourselves, but He can never be deceived.
So they come as though they are sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them to; they talk very sweetly about loving the Lord, but with their hearts they are loving their money. (Ezekiel 33:31, TLB)
We are living in a period of famine (recession) and the tendency is for the pursuit of the scarce money to increase. Christians will be hard pressed to pursue money to meet valid needs but we must be careful to pursue God and His kingdom/righteousness (His way of being and doing right) as our number one priority. There must be a difference between those in the kingdom of darkness and those in the kingdom of the Son of God and that difference ought to be seen in who or what we bow our knees to; who or what we love.
Let us set our faces like flint and run the race set before us, looking to Jesus as our Example and Forerunner. Let’s endure hardship rather than compromise our relationship with our Lord and Saviour and/or compromise the true treasure that awaits us beyond this Earth. Let’s love and serve God because He is worthy and not try to ‘use’ Him as an ATM machine. Let’s trust God and believe what Jesus said:
“No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches. So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. ……… Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” (Matthew 6:24-33, NCV)