We all know what money is and we all know the importance of money in our culture. We live in a very capitalistic society where money is regarded as king and law. We spend hours, days and lives at our jobs, trying to earn enough money to meet our obligations. And if we are lucky, we try to earn even more to feed our wants and desires. But what does the Bible say to us about money?
There seems to be a misunderstanding among Christians as to the importance or function of money in our service and worship of God. We know of money as a legal tender, but what function does the Bible require of the use of money? What caution does the Bible offer concerning our relationship with money?
Ecclesiastes 10:19 - Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.
From what the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us, money answers everything and is therefore useful for everything. And for this reason, man has made money a god to be worshipped and served, rather than making money the servant that works for you. People are no longer interested in hearing the word of God if it does not promise them lots of money and if it does not show them how to achieve or gain money through their faith. And for this reason, many churches and preachers no longer preach the truth of God, but instead preach the popular word of the dollar! Or the Naira! Or whatever currency it may be.
This so called Christians go out looking for preachers that preach the doctrine of money. Some will go to even greater extremes by seeking fetish gods, performing rituals and all sorts of evil prescribed by occultists as a means of getting money. Bring me a strand of your baby’s hair. Bring me the warm blood of a human being and so on and so forth. You hear of credit card fraud, people – even so-called Christians – trafficking drugs and going into prostitution because of money; young girls and women who have become so seduced by money and riches that it is the only thing that appeals to them. A guy must have flashy cars and be able to buy them everything and anything in an instant. And the guys who also want these women will go to any length, legal and illegal to be able to promote themselves in this status.
But this same book of Ecclesiastes
- He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who
loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.
So what the Bible is saying is that while the things money can acquire are good, the lust for money will never satisfy your desire but only lead you further and further into iniquity and the liability of perdition. And for this reason the following passage also says-
1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.
How many times have you found yourself having to decide whether or not you should go to church or go in for overtime to make a little more for the month? How many times have you found yourself willing to compromise your faith because of an opportunity to make a quick buck? Money is the root of evil, and those who crave and lust after it become slaves to it and consequently become slaves to the will of Satan. It is one of the most powerful weapons the devil uses to destroy Christians- money. Either by taking it away from you and making you crave after it, or by giving too much of it to you and making you worship at its altar.
If you go into the Book of 2 Kings 5, you will see that after Namaan was cured of his leprosy after following Elisha’s God-inspired prescription, he wanted to give Elisha some money in appreciation. But Elisha refused because it was not his hand that healed Namaan, but the hand of God. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, ran after Namaan out of his greed and craving for money and asked him for the money Elisha refused. And what happened? Elisha put the leprosy that Namaan had been cured of upon Gehazi. And he was a leper till the day he died.
Think also of Judas, who was the disciple that was entrusted with the treasury of the ministry and then began to steal from it. And not only that, his craving for money also led him to betray Christ…and for what, for thirty pieces of silver! This was the value for which he sold the Son of Man? And did he not hang himself, fall and crack his skull and burst open his entrails over those very same thirty pieces of silver in the field of Aceldema or the Field of Blood as it was so called? So after the great length and elaborate design with which he sought after his so called “big pay day,” not a single piece of those thirty pieces of silver could deliver him out of the throngs of perdition. He thought thirty pieces of silver was the value at which he had priced the Rock; yet, spiritually blinded by his avarice, he did not realize that it was the price at which he was selling his soul to the devil.
All these people destroyed their lives and forfeited their salvation because of their craving for money. And the devil is always watching and always looking for ways to destroy us. That is why it is so important for us to be careful in how we serve God. That very thing you crave is the very thing he will try to use to entice you away from the faith. And how many people have abandoned the church because they feel they can never get rich in the church? How many have wandered away because the church does not preach riches and money? How many more are Satan slowly pulling away from their salvation in their quest for money?
Have you put your trust in money, believing that only this money can save you, deliver you, heal you or repair your life; so much so that you have slighted God to a secondary position in your life over your pursuit of money? Like Simon in the following verse:
- Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the
apostles' hands, he offered them money.
The gift of God and the promise of God to us is peace, security, joy, blessing and most of all, eternal salvation. Which one of these do you think a single dime or a billion dollars can ever buy you? Money does not guarantee peace. Money does not guarantee long life. Having money does not mean God will give you the peace or health to enjoy it. Only God and the true worship of God can guarantee that! With all the money Judas made, did he not perish with the money in the end?
“But Seek ye first the kingdom of God; and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you-” Matthew 6:33. So the Lord is simply saying, you seek first my kingdom; worry about pleasing me and worshipping me righteously; then test me in this and see if I will not satisfy you with all the good things in life.
Not everybody has been designed to be rich. And this simple truth may be sacrilege to many of us, but it is the simple indisputable truth. Just as any society is divided into various social classes from the affluent, to the sufficient and to the deficient, so also have the heavens determined varied classes according to the purpose for which we have been created. And if anyone preaches a different gospel to you, then you are being seduced and brain-washed by the common virus most preachers suffer from today- “Tell them only what they want to hear.” Think about it, if everybody was designed to be rich, then every prophet, apostle and leader in the Bible would have been rich. But to those the Lord assigned riches – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Jehosaphat, The Shunammite woman, Esther, Joseph of Arimathaea – he also assigned the great responsibility of helping the poor and needy and delivering the less privileged out of their calamity. He did not bestow them riches for their own sake, but for the sake of his people. Proverbs 22:2 reads- “The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.”
Proverbs 13:7 – “There is (one) that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is (another) that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” The blessed Mother Theresa of recent memory may not have been a wealthy woman by socio-economic standards, but she lived a life far richer than the Queen of England can ever hope to achieve in a life of Monarchial excesses. And there were others like her in the Bible- John the Baptist, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, Paul, Peter, the Poor Widow and her two mites and even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ himself. Neither one of these great servants of God were wealthy according to the standards of society. But they were richer than the kingdoms of Babylon, Israel, Judah and Egypt put together. And they took comfort in their humble estate because they knew their purpose required no riches to be fulfilled. And what they achieved and fulfilled in their lifetime, pale the glory of kings and emperors for all time to come.
The Lord has not promised us wealth and monetary riches- those are excesses that are reserved for a select few. Not because it pleases him to make some suffer and others bask in abundance, but his delight and promise is that our food will be assured. Our clothing to cover our nakedness will be assured. Our needs will always be met. Now some will argue that there are people who clearly do not deserve their riches because they squander it on vanity and in purchasing more iniquity. Sure, there are those who have not gained their riches from the favor of God but rather from their carnal betrothing to the ways of the world. For those the Lord offers this verse- Psalm 49: 16-Be not afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. 18 Though, while he lives, he counts himself happy, and though a man gets praise when he does well for himself, 19 he will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never more see the light. 20 A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
See, the Lord observes the hearts of all men and weighs their deeds long before they begin to ponder them. According to the inclinations of our hearts, he assigns his gifts and blessings. Some will never taste of riches till the day they die because He knows those very riches will be the death of their salvation, as was the case with Judas, as was the case with Gehazi and was almost the case with King Nebuchadnezzar, whose wealth debased him with arrogance and a false sense of worth, until the Lord humbled him by dispossessing him not only of his riches, but of his kingdom and honor; only to re-establish him much later after he repented of his pride (the Book of Daniel). And for this Solomon observes in Ecclesistes:6-:1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction. Yet, for those whose ways are pleasing to the Lord, he says in Proverbs 10 : 22 The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. And that is the difference, the silver lining between what one’s hand bestows and what one’s hand bestows through the favor and grace of God.
For those who truly worship God in all righteousness, what the Lord promises us is precisely what he executed through the hand of Elisha at the poor widow’s request in 2 Kings 4:1-7. She had lost her husband, the sole provider of the family, and a righteous man of God who revered God and worshipped diligently. Her husband’s creditors had come to impose upon her to the point of threatening to take her only two children as slaves in payment for her debts. “And Eli'sha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil." 3 Then he said, "Go outside, borrow vessels of all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in, and shut the door upon yourself and your sons, and pour into all these vessels; and when one is full, set it aside." 5 So she went from him and shut the door upon herself and her sons; and as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another." Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
As you can see, the Lord met her needs, delivered her out of all her debts so she may serve him in peace, and gave her just enough to sustain the family without being exposed to the threats of more creditors again. And it is only this much that the Lord has promised any one of us. And to even attain that level of comfort where we ask authoritatively and seek from God with conviction, our service and worship of God must also be without blemish. Then we may ask, and assuredly, we will receive. As the Lord says in the Book of Psalms 34:9- Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. And that’s the covenant; and that’s the contract and condition of our well-being.
As for those with whom it pleases the Lord to not only grant enough, but an excess, he enriches them also with this responsibility- 1 Timothy 6: 17 As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, 19 thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed.
And finally, Paul also says in Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you." Remember that there is another place, our final destination as it concerns the righteous in the Lord, where the social and economic disparities and prejudices that oppress this world will no longer apply; a place where every man, woman and child need not labor or toil before they eat, and yet they shall live as kings and queens, subject to no one and beholding only to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is to this end, to this utopia, and to this perpetual state of euphoria, that all men must lust, strive and work without compromise to achieve.
Money is a means to an end. Not the end to everything. Do not sacrifice your relationship with God, your spouse, your children or friends and family because of your love and pursuit of money. Money should never become a source of inconvenience in your life but rather an instrument to convenience. You should never design God around your dreams, ambitions, jobs or pursuits; instead, plan and design all your aspirations and agitations around God, for only He can give you rest and the peace not only to attain, but also to enjoy the fruits of your labor. God is the ultimate Banker and Broker. What he sells will not cost you a dime. And the Stocks of His trade are bought and sold in a market that will never crash or decline. The investments He offers are primed at alarmingly increasing returns that no junk bond can ever supply. And when he says buy, be assured His IPO will never fail nor falter. What he offers is not only for a while, but eternal. And the comfort and joy he offers no amount of money can buy. Seek God first, and leave the rest to him. He will never leave you in penury. He will always meet you at your point of need. Hold the Lord your God at the crest of all things, and the Lord will never fail to hold you at the crest of all creatures. Isaiah 55:1 "Come, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
Remember, money is the preferred currency of Satan; and those who lust after it are like young maidens serenading a Serpent into their boudoir. He will enter; then crawl over your foot, and like a faithful servant, it will curl about your ankle, writhing about your leg like a lover in bed. But when you least expect it, his head will arch back as his throat begins to pulsate, quickening with the venom of its duplicity- and then with his fangs wagging vigorously in the wind and salivating as if at a feast, he moves and arches forward with a quick jerk of its head and strikes! Leaving you writhing in your agony as you struggle with death and regret; however, by then, the ill would have been served and the Serpent would have been long gone. And such is the way of money and those who lust and throb for it. For a while, it acts as your slave, carrying out your bidding and serving your will; and then it curls about you like a friend, indeed a lover. But once you least expect it, that very thing you love now burns a hole through your soul, and destroys the very thing for which it had been behest to build.
The saying remains incontrovertible- Money is the Root of all evil. And for this an oracle was pronounced from the mouth of Agur, the wise son of Jakeh- Proverbs 30: 7 Two things I ask of thee; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God.
May the Good and Faithful Shepherd continue to impart his wisdom upon us.
The Humble Servant of the Lord,
Assistant Evangelist Damilola Olorunnisola.
C.C.C- Voice of Grace Parish.
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