Amidst growing anxiety over spreading disease, the world’s financial stability is now under threat. I quote today’s Radio 4 reporter:
“If the world’s financial markets consist of greed and fear, then fear is winning.”
This is indeed an accurate and penetrating assessment of the two main drivers of the global economy, and how much suffering and stress is generated by these two factors in human affairs. But what does God think of the greed and of the fears that motivate a man? And what is He going to do about it? The Bible says a whole lot about money – more than 2000 verses – and of 39 parables that Jesus told, 11 deal with money.
When two brothers brought to Jesus an argument about their inheritance, Jesus replied:
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
The word here for ‘greed’ or ‘covetousness’ is the Greek pleonexia, which means literally ‘to have more’.
Some years ago, one of the wealthiest men in the world was being interviewed and was asked, ‘how much money is enough?’. His reply was, ‘just a little bit more…’. The poor man had become a slave to what he thought he owned, though in reality it had taken ownership of him.
Jesus concluded this particular teaching with the words: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (v34). The warning is to all of us, whatever our fiscal situation, to watch out, to continually be attentive, and to set up a guard against all kinds of avarice and dependence on what we think we have.
King Solomon was both rich and wise. In his latter days he penned:
‘Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.’ (Eccles 5:10). And he also observed: ‘Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.’ (Prov 23:5). How true!
With the unrestrained greed of getting it comes the fear of losing it. Another of Solomon’s proverbs says: ‘The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.’ (Prov 13:8). Growing wealth is often accompanied by growing walls of protection around the owner, and a corresponding growing concern to keep hold of it.
Jesus had much to say about the stuff of daily life that distracts us from serving Him. In Matthew 6:25 he says: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’ That’s a command – don’t get distracted, fearful and worried, but ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ (v33).
This is a call to completely trust the Lord to whom we have given over our very lives.
A final word from Hebrews:
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?” (Heb13:5-6)
Money is not a god but a gift from our generous Father who provides for his children who choose to trust in Him.
Author: John Plumb
May God bless and enrich your life
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