August 6, 2019

Money—helpful or harmful? It depends.

Jesus insisted that our relationship with Him determines if our possessions will corrupt us or bless us.
In Luke 12:13-21, we see two men who were both corroded by their property instead of being blessed by it. One man, so obsessed with fortune, actually interrupts Jesus’ teaching to ask Him to settle an inheritance dispute. Jesus warned him and the crowd to beware of greed in all its forms.

Greedy people falsely believe that life is found in possessions and they become corrupted by their goods. If you think you don’t struggle with greed, then take this quiz:

1. Do you tend to visualize what God can do or money can do?
2. Are you building your life around loving God and people or financial goals?
3. Do you measure success by your contribution and character or possessions?
4. Do you adjust your finances to keep your convictions or adjust your ethics to avoid financial loss?

Still think you are not in danger? Then consider the second man in Luke 12, who Jesus describes in a parable: a rich farmer. Nothing wrong with that, but he deceived himself by believing that life is in possessions. He never thanked God, never considered helping others, and only focused on providing security for himself.

Suddenly God breaks in, calls him a fool and says your days on earth are over! Then Jesus turns to us and warns, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Jesus did not condemn storing up treasure for ourselves because he commanded us to do so in Matthew 6:20. He assumes we will. The issue is where do we store them up: in heaven where they are eternally secure, or on earth where we will lose them all?

Jesus insists the only way to store up eternal treasures, be freed from greed, and enjoy the full benefit of our possessions is to be rich toward God. Being rich toward God is grounded in the belief that God owns everything. It begins by treasuring what God has done for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is fed by delighting in Jesus and using your resources for His glory.

Is money harmful or helpful? It depends. Do you treasure Jesus above all else?