It doesn’t take much effort to find various Biblical texts in which, in some shape or form, money plays the bad guy. When we don’t limit our search to the word “money”, other terms such as “wealth”, “riches”, “poverty” “plenty” “lack”, etc, add just that many more Biblical texts to the list. For example:
Through wisdom a house is built…and by knowledge the rooms shall be filled with all precious and pleasant riches (Proverbs 24:3-4) . . . The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty (Proverbs 21:5) . . . You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning (Leviticus 19:13) . . . Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice (Proverbs 16:8) . . . Woe to him who… who uses his neighbor’s services without pay and does not give him his wages (Jeremiah 22:13) . . . . The cries of the unpaid harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty (James 5:4) . . . Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10) . . . Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5).
And, who can forget that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
One day, I heard a speaker refer to greed of money, raising the question “Why do we want so much money.” I was pleased that he wisely was taking the discussion to the issue of values rather than just the quantity of money. To myself I noted that one of the reasons we want money, whether we consciously think of it or not, is that we sense that money is a basic tool for exercising power. Of course, many things can be used to force someone to act in a particular way. Whatever we have that they may “need” can be a tool in our hands to force a specific action from them. We may use affection, “not snitching”, food, public office, a promotion, sex, drugs, publicity, exemption from a rule, popularity . . . and the list of what we can use to force another person to do something can go on and on.
But, money is in a category all its own. So many people want it. The desire for money goes beyond wanting to add more toys to our collection. We know that if we have money we can use it to force action by someone else. They want the money because it can be used in so many ways to satisfy their “needs”. In other words, with money comes the possibility of exercising power. Consequently, we humans can easily put money in the place of God and think that with it, we can achieve our desires; God is not necessary. The more money one has, the stronger the temptation to turn away from God, turn into ourselves, and see ourselves as approaching omnipotence.
Is a rich person, by definition, guilty of rejecting God? We would be foolish to assert that. But, when the riches become a power tool which we use to force action according to our personal agenda, and we refuse to act out of love (what is in the best interest of the other person), simply stated we are both anti-God and anti-human in our behavior and values.
Any comments? Please share them.