Mine, Mine, Mine
The world around us says that we deserve the money we earn and that the more money we earn, the happier we will be. After all, we have worked hard for our money and it seems only fair for us to be able to enjoy the fruit of our labor. But when we work hard, we can only do so with the abilities, opportunities and health that ultimately God supplies. If God had decided that we would be born on a mountainside in Tibet 1,000 years ago, it would not matter what our abilities were etc. Much of what we think we have done is actually a product of circumstances and blessings that God has placed us in. This means that my money is really not my money. It is God’s money that He has entrusted to me for some reason.
This is exactly what King David makes clear in I Chronicles 28-29. All we have has been given by God, and it is our responsibility to give back a portion of what He has entrusted to us. But into this common sense picture come our own loves and desires. We often grow to love the money we make and the things we purchase with it. Paul makes this clear when he says: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:8-11). We might place it in the form of a math equation like this:
Loving Money +/- Having Money = Severe Danger
In the passage, Paul even mentions some who had left Christianity because their hearts were taken captive by their love of money. The sad truth is that if we love money, we will never be content. The truth of this assertion is seen all to clearly in the lives of many professional athletes who make millions of dollars from their contracts and endorsements. Yet, within a few years of retirement or injury, many are bankrupt, divorced and depressed. What happened? They had it all, but they never learned the most important lesson – contentment.
The Ultimate in Human Destruction
Just as a blind spot by a driver can lead to devastating consequences on a highway, greed and materialism can often cause the ultimate in human destruction because money, by nature, blinds us to the power it has over us. We fail to fully realize just how quickly and in what subtle ways money and possessions are affecting us at our core. Is it any wonder that Jesus says in Luke 12 that we should watch out for “all forms of greed”? Notice that He never makes such a statement about adultery. Why not? Because when a person is committing adultery, they know it. You do not commit adultery on accident.
More than 15% of everything Jesus said while on this earth had to do with money and material possessions. This is striking when one considers that he spent more time talking about these issues than about heaven and hell combined.
A Hard Truth
If Jesus has warned us to beware of all forms of greed and if He talked so much about material things, we should make it our working assumption that each of us has a problem with greed and materialism. If greed and materialism by their very nature tend to blind us to their effects, than it only makes sense to assume that we have been blinded in order to find out if we actually have been blinded.
One of the best ways to see if greed and materialism have a strong hold on us is simply to begin giving things that we really care about away. It is easy to give away things we were going to throw in the rubbish bins anyway. But giving away things we really care about or that are new, will often show us just how much of a hold those material possessions have on us.
On the money front, if you find it difficult to give your money away (to church and charities) but find it easy to spend it on a new house, car or other large purchase, then your house or car may just be your real god. It is effortless to spend money on that which is your real God. If this is true, and if you struggle to give generously to the Lord’s work, what does that say about your real god?
We would do well to emulate the mentality of John Wesley when he said:
“Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart.”
 Randy Alcorn, The Treasury Principles, 70.