Money and manure – Greg Laurie – and
The Wall Street Journal quoted an anonymous person who defined money as "an article which may be used as a universal passport except in heaven and as a universal provider for everything except happiness."
Maybe that’s why heiress Christina Onassis, one of the wealthiest women who ever lived, made this statement: "Happiness is not based on money. The best proof of that is our family." Shortly after that, she took her own life.
Whenever you bring up the subject of money, it makes certain people uncomfortable.
I heard the story of a minister who was exhorting his flock. Coming up to the end of his sermon, his voice was rising to a crescendo, and the people were getting excited. This was one of those congregations in the Deep South that would talk back to the preacher as he delivered the message. He said to the people, "Church, we, like that crippled man, need to learn how to walk." They said back in unison, "Let us walk preacher, let us walk."
Raising it up to the next level he said, "And church, like Elijah up on Mount Carmel, we need to learn how to run." The church shouted back, "Let us run pastor, let us run!" Then he said, "We need to mount up with wings like eagles and we need to fly." They yelled back, "Let us fly pastor, let us fly!" Then he said, "Now if the church is going to fly, it’s going to take money."
There was a moment of silence. The people said back more quietly, "Let us walk, pastor, let us walk."
It’s worth noting that money is a very important topic in the Bible, and one that is addressed many times. You might be surprised to learn that half of the parables Jesus told dealt with money – and one out of every seven verses in the New Testament.
"You might say, "Well, I think I’ll just skim Greg’s column today. This talk about God and money couldn’t have much to do with me, because I don’t have any money to speak of. Really, I’m just getting by, so Greg must be talking to wealthy people."
I guess it all comes down to how you define a wealthy person. If we say that wealthy people are the ones who live in Beverly Hills, drive around in a Rolls Royce and will only eat Grey Poupon mustard, then yes, those people are definitely upper crust. Compared to them most of us wouldn’t be wealthy at all.
But if you look at the rest of the world, perhaps a person living in Ethiopia or India, and compare them to someone on the lowest rung of the economic ladder here in America … that would be a very different story. You would have to say that most of us, all things considered, are rich in the eyes of the rest of the world.
What does the Bible say to people like that, to people like us? The apostle Paul writes: "Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NLT).
The Bible mentions three things here to the person who has means. By doing these things, the text says that they will store up for themselves treasures in heaven.
They are told to not be arrogant or to put their ultimate hope in that wealth.
Malcolm Forbes, the founder of Forbes Magazine and one of the wealthiest men that ever lived, made this statement: "The thing that I dread most about death is that I will not be as comfortable in the next life as I was in this one." That could be the understatement of the century!
You can’t take your money with you! No one can.
Use your money for good.
The idea is to take the resources God has given you and help others with them. Invest in the work of God’s kingdom on earth. Do good with what He has placed in your hand.
The Bible says that if you give to God, He will give to you. And the more you give to Him, the more He will give to you. Jesus said, "In the same measure you give, it will be given to you pressed down, shaken together, running over."
I have found from experience that I cannot out-give God. If I’m willing to have an open hand with what God gives me, He will give me even more. It never fails.
If you see a need that you can help to meet with your giving, do so. And do it in the name of the Lord.
If God has blessed you with resources, enjoy them.
Our God is a good Father, and He has given us all things for our enjoyment. Recognizing where all good things in your life come from, enjoy what He has given you. But also recognize that with those resources come real responsibilities.
It has been stated many times that "money is the root of all evil." But that’s not what the Bible says. Scripture teaches that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Money in itself is neither moral nor immoral, neither good nor evil.
It is the use of it which is good or bad. It depends on what you do with it. It has been said, "Money is a lot like manure. If you spread it around, it does a world of good, but if you pile it up, it stinks to high heaven."
The best idea is to take what God has so generously given to us and spread it around. That will bring happiness now … and especially after you take your leave from the planet and leave it all behind.