Money and the Mind of Christ
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Once again we are reminded just how different God’s thoughts are from ours (Is. 55:8): Do not toil to acquire wealth. Who thinks like that? Money is power. Money is security. Money is “the most important thing” (George Bernard Shaw). Of course, money can also serve the Kingdom of God in wonderful ways. The counsel of John Wesley rings true, doesn’t it? “Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” Who would not (who should not?) toil for the vast advantages of wealth?
But the next words speak the mind of Christ about money: be discerning enough to desist; literally (in Hebrew), stop trusting in your own understanding. The meaning is this. Human understanding says that “money is the answer to everything” (see Eccl. 10:19). But it isn’t: When your eyes light on it, it is gone. We could take that simply as a warning that riches are uncertain. And true, riches are uncertain—but that’s not the point here. Do not toil to acquire wealth for the sake of wealth, not because you will lose it, but because it will lose its luster. Quickly. Like an eagle—the fastest of birds—all the promises and charm of money take flight. As when families go to war over inheritance. As when a miser joylessly lives only to get all he can for himself. (The word “miser” means “miserable!”) As when a businessman burns bridges for the “bottom line.” To paraphrase Groucho Marx, money can’t buy happiness, it just lets you choose your own form of misery.
Money is not the problem. The problem is how we think about money. It can be a tool in your hand for good, for the gospel, for the glory of God. Or it can be the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16). So here is the mind of Christ about wealth—don’t let your eyes light on it; use it for Him.
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! (Ps. 39:6).
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