I can hear the music used for the theme song to the once hugely popular TV show “The Apprentice,” can’t you? The part where the singers sing gleefully, “Money, money, mooooooneeey!”
I can see the stereotypical old miser too, hunched over his desk, almost drooling over his little stacks of gold coins.
I can see other images too – like the iconic picture of the young woman, staring vacantly, during the Great Depression – or of people lined up at the food bank.
What images, ideas, feelings are evoked in you when you think of this thing some love, some hate, but all – at some level – need: money?
Sit with that thought for a moment. Then, ponder these words from the apostle Paul’s words to his young protege’ Timothy:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 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. 10 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.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
For the devout Christian, I think that about sums it up.
We need not flee from touching, or using, money but we dare not make of it an idol either. It can be used for the kingdom. It can also be used to fuel “the dark side” – and I am not talking about Star Wars. The choice is ours, it is always ours. So we must approach this money thing with prayerful consideration every time we reach for our pocket book, wallet, credit card, or Apple Pay app.
In my congregation I having been working my way through Chuck Swindoll’s classic little book, “Strengthening Your Grip.” It has led us to talk about priorities, involvement, purity, and now, this week, we will think about money and how we relate to it. It isn’t my favorite topic to address from the pulpit – far from it.
Still, it’s one we need to address, because in our society money is such a relentless, driving force. I sometimes see great things done, to the glory of God, using money. Too often, I see awful – greedy – things done using that same commodity.
In the end, all I can do is encourage my congregation to walk carefully, and prayerfully.
Paul was right.
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
It was true long before him. It was true during his lifetime. It is certainly true now.
So, “money, money, money” – let the music play on. Just be careful of how, when, and why it causes you to dance.