A Tool Called Money
Old Testament Reading- Ecclesiastes 5:10-15
New Testament Reading- Matthew 6:24
By Henry J. Rafferty CP -November 14, 2021
In the beginning, God provided us with all that we would require. After the fall of humankind though, we would need to work hard for that which we needed. Through the sweat of our brow would we eat from the earth’s bounty. We didn’t go down to the grocery store and use our bank card to buy what we need; we would have to gather or grow our food. It takes a tremendous amount of work to do this, as anyone with a garden can tell you. Drought or flood, weeds, insects and disease problems, unfertile soil, and many other things contribute to why growing or gathering our own food is not always easy.
As civilizations started to develop around agricultural areas, people began to grow enough food that they could produce for whole villages, allowing people to begin to diversify their occupations to better suit the whole community. Trade began as a way for products to be acquired. If you were a blacksmith and you needed food, and you didn’t grow enough of your own, then you might trade some tools you made with the farmer for his crops. After a while, all this trading became harder, as you may not need what someone was trading with you, so people used valuable gems and other things as a system of value to trade. Now instead of trading tools for food you could sell your tools to someone who would give you, let’s say gold, and you could use that for buying your food. Look how simple that is, a way to take work and turn it into a system of value that can be used to acquire something you need.
Really, money is a tool that we use not unlike a hammer or a shovel. If you were in a mine and the roof caved in and you found in your possession money in your pocket, a sledgehammer, and a shovel, which of these three tools will help you the most? I dare say, the money in your pocket would be useless in this situation. Money is not the end-all-be-all that we often think it.
So, in this world we need to use money for all kinds of things, but the Bible says that money is the root of all evil, right? A lot of people think that the Bible says that, but they are wrong, and I will get to that in a little bit. We must remember that there are many things in this world that we use for good, but that Satan can fool us into using it in the wrong way or thinking about it in the wrong way. Money is something we use for good purposes, but it can also be used in the wrong way. Money can cause us to become corrupted by the power that it can create. In this world, the more money you have, the more powerful you could become.
The old saying, ‘Money Talks’ is true in many ways. When people with lots of money say they want something, people flock to them so that they can get that money first. There is another saying we use, ‘The Rich Get Richer,’ and anyone who has a rudimentary knowledge of money can understand investing and interest. These sayings are true, but we are all deceived if we think that money is anything more than what it is, a tool. What happens if the system that we currently live in collapses? All that money you have is now worthless unless you can eat it or drink it.
My grandfather grew up during the Depression in a rural area near Penfield, Pennsylvania. Their family grew vegetables, had cows, horses, mules, pigs, and chickens, they hunted, and they worked, growing evergreen seedlings for the state. When asked by anyone what the Great Depression was like, my grandfather would say, “We didn’t know we were supposed to be depressed.” He would often say that they had all they needed to eat and more, that they would share with neighbors who had less, and that he never saw anything of the Depression until he came to the city in Erie and saw the soup lines and all the unemployed. So, you see, you can’t eat money, or wear it, or shelter in it, and when times get tough, you find out fast that money is not all that people think it is.
Let’s get back to ‘Money being the Root of All Evil.’ 1 Timothy 6:2b-10 tells us,
“These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
There it is, the Love of money is A Root of all Kinds of evil. It does not say that money is the root of all evil, because it is not. If that were the case than all money of any kind or amount would be evil, which it is not. In fact, it is not even money that they talk about but the love of money that is the case in point.
Ultimately, if we love anything more than God, we run into a problem. It is called idolatry and yes, the love of money is a form of idolatry. When we set anything up with so much power in our lives that it takes away from God or if we live for something more than God, we set it up as an idol. We begin to worship something instead of God, we worship money instead of God. We actually set money up as a god and that goes against the very first and second of God’s Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” and “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.”
Jesus told us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Let us remember that our treasure should be in God and the things of God, not in earthly things.
James 1:16-17 says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” For this reason, we should remember that all that is good that happens or comes to us in our lives is given to us by God. All our abilities, talents, and possessions have been given to us by God. “Hey, I worked hard for what I have, what did God have to do with that?” Everything, who created your body, who gave you the ability to learn, who gives you your health, all God. Without those things you have nothing. Do you start to see now what blessings God bestows on us all?
A few weeks ago we talked about priorities and how if we prioritize God and His kingdom first, the rest will be added to you. Money is no different, God knows that we use money in this world and that we have bills to pay and mouths to feed. God also knows that little Billy wants a bicycle and Susie wants a laptop, these are not needs, yet God grants those as well if it is in His will to do so. God did not create us to live on this planet only with that which we need, but also some things we want, if we want for the right reasons. Again, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then watch what blessings God will lavish upon you. God is a most loving God and Father to us and He wants the very best for us, but He wants us to not fall into a trap.
Evil is not always so apparent, even to those it affects.
Remember Mr. Thespian, in our message some weeks ago? Mr. Thespian was not what you would call a bad guy looking from the outside, but inside he was ruled by his love of money. At a young age, so much value was placed on hard work and its ability to make money that it imprinted on him that money was the reward and that it could be gained by being better or more industrious than someone else. He believed that he was the master of his own destiny and maker of his own money, and by all outward appearances, he was right. But we cannot see what God can see. If we had that ability, we would see a fearful man that is so afraid of not having fistfuls of money and the power it afforded him, that he would kill someone before he gave it up. We would see that the only care that he really had for anyone in the world was for himself and that even his family would lose if he had to choose between losing his money or his family. Evil is not always so apparent, even to those it affects.
Knowing now that money is a tool and that we should be content with all the good gifts God bestows on us; we should also understand that God also allows some people to have wealth of which we could only dream. Father Abraham, King David, and King Solomon were fabulously wealthy, but all three were not perfect either and David had some trouble because of his power and Solomon certainly strayed from God in the latter part of his life because of his wealth and privilege. If you are wealthy, you must be prayerful and diligent to keep yourself humble in the sight of God and charitable towards others less fortunate than you. I often believe that this is a mission for all of us, as we all have some degree of wealth compared to others and God expects us to let our money, that He gave us the ability to have, work to help others, not just ourselves.
I hope we learned some things with this message. First, that wealthy people are not the enemy and that all of them are not going to hell, a ridiculous notion, some people God blesses with worldly wealth, some He blesses with other blessings, it is not our problem to worry about it. Jesus wants us to be content with the life that God has given us and know that God has a different plan for each of us according to our own gifts. We should find hope and peace in that knowledge.
Christ also wants us to remember to trust in God with every aspect of our lives, as the song says, God will take care of you. Remember always that money is only a tool, a valuable one, but only a tool. Our real hope is the love of our Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ who tells us that no one can serve two masters, you cannot serve God and money. You must choose, it really isn’t hard to choose, but we sure make it hard. I leave you with this saying, ‘Let go and let God,’ let that be your guide. Thanks be to Almighty God. Amen.