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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

From whence doth money get its claws?

An important question
Where does money get its claws from?

The New Testament warns again and again about the terrible damage the love of money can do. It can keep a man out of the kingdom (Matthew 19) and make it impossible to love the right Master (Matthew 6). Jesus warns against all kinds of greed (Luke 12:15) and Paul insists that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6).

With this persistent New Testament warning against the dangers of the love of money we had all better presume we are guilty and humbly work to establish our innocence.

But why does Money exert such an influence over us? What are its claws? Surely not the mere amassing of paper and nickel - greed is not stamp collecting.

The love of money comes from what money says it can do. Money makes promises, which Jesus says are all a pack of lies (the 'deceitfulness of wealth' - Mark 4:19). Money mimics God and promises to do what only God can do.

Money says "I will make your tomorrow secure", so we amass it and begin to trust in it, rather than in God. Tomorrow we may loose every penny of it, of course, but we believe the lie.

Money says "I can make you happy - buy a holiday in the sun, or a concert ticket for your favourite band". We believe the myth rather than praying to him alone who can satisfy us in the morning with his unfailing love (Psalm 90).

Money says "I can protect you - if you get in trouble, I'll get you a lawyer; if you get ill, I'll sort out the best doctors." And we believe it and dispense with our need for God.

Counterfeit god
In other words Money gets it's power from being an idol - a counterfeit God.

In our western world with such vast riches (in spite of the recession) we need to take Jesus' warning seriously, "Be on your guard for all kinds of greed", lest we find ourselves in fact trusting in wealth more than God.

The antidote to the love of money is to have our hearts captivated with Another Passion. And just as Zachaeus' love for money fell away when he exepreinced the overwhelming love of God, so we too need a fresh vision of God's love for us through Jesus so that we can say, truly, "My soul finds rest (or trusts) in God alone." (Psalm 62).

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