Money, Money, Money

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:

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. 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.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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