GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
The Love of Money
By Keith L. Estes
"And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he (Jesus) said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth, And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12: 13-21)
When I was drafted in 1945 I was sent to Camp Roberts, California, for my basic training. After rigorous training in the hot sun, we went to the barracks for water, as our canteens were empty. Standing by the water faucet was a soldier that made sure we ate the salt tablets that were provided. It was believed that we needed to replenish the salt in the body. I would chew my tablets and they made me thirstier and I would drink more water. The Romans had a saying about that and it applies to the rich man in Jesus' parable. Their proverb said that money was like salt water; the more a man drank the thirstier he became.
This man was not able to see the needs of others because he had "I" trouble. Six times he mentions the word "I" in what he is planning to do. The famous criticism was made of a self-centered person; "There is too much ego in his cosmos."
Money can be a blessing when we place it in a proper perspective. John Wesley said that we should earn as much money as we can, save as much as we can and give as much as we can.
This man wanted Jesus to intervene in the inheritance of his brother and the parable of Jesus is His answer to the man. First, we must remember that the oldest son received the largest inheritance and then the other sons, the balance. Evidently this man wanted more than his father allowed. Jesus saw this as covetousness. Jesus will not be part of furthering someone's selfish interests. He calls for people to serve the Lord and others, not themselves.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul states, "But they that will be rich fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
They that will be rich are those whose ambition is to be rich. Paul continues his dissertation, "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."
The root of "all evil" means a root or source of all kinds of evil. The love for money is not the only source from which evils come. "Coveted after," means that some have "striven after" money as the goal of life.
Again Paul exhorts Timothy, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
Paul charges wealthy believers not to be proud and look down on those who are not rich, to confide in God rather than in unstable riches, to be rich in good works by generously sharing their surplus of financial resources with the needy. To be ready to distribute is to be generous in sharing. To be willing to communicate is to be liberal in giving. When wealthy believers generously share, they secure an assurance (laying up in store for themselves a good foundation) that in the future (against the time to come) they will indeed enter heaven) lay hold on eternal life). The giving of our resources does not purchase salvation, but generosity does demonstrate the reality of one's faith. Since the believer trusts God, and not money, he gives. This giving shows where his heart is and that he views his wealth in light of eternity.
Reference: 1 Timothy 6: 9, 10, 17, 18. The Liberty Study Bible, KJV.