Ecclesiastes 5:13-15, NIV
“I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him. Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labour that he can carry in his hand.”
Recently there was a terrible robbery. An elderly and very wealthy couple were murdered in their home. Their wealth had been hoarded and, as referred to in our scripture, it had brought awful disaster upon them. Another person with great personal wealth used his money to make more and more money and amass a fortune. But in a great financial crash much of what he owned disappeared overnight. Wealth that could have been used to provide for the family, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, restore the hurting and broken and build the Kingdom of God was lost in a moment of time. People store money up as if they and their money will be there forever, trusting that their wealth will always be their security.
It always amazes me how blind people can be, to the very salutary and very obvious truth that is at the heart of today’s scripture – we can take no more out of the world than we brought into it! Money is a great servant, but a very bad master and when God gives the increase to the labours of our lives, we have a great responsibility to ensure that whatever these resources prove to be, they are a servant and not a master. No wonder there is so much in Scripture about the blessing that comes from godly giving and warning about how the love of money can become a root of all kinds of evil.
It’s not wrong to make money, but when money becomes an idol, the god of this world can start paying some very ungodly wages! As one commentator said, ‘Treat money like your God, And it will plague you like the devil!’
John Wesley got the balance right when he said of money, ‘Get all you can, save all you can and give all you can!’ If we have a healthy attitude towards giving it away, it will never become an idol and the more we use our money as a servant of the living God, the more money God will entrust us with to use for his glory. There are people who die exceedingly rich but, sadly, possessing little treasure that will be useful to them in the world to come. There are others who may die poor, but the riches of their lives have gone ahead, and for them there will be great treasure in Heaven!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all the resources you have entrusted me with. Help me to use them wisely throughout my life and never to focus on how much treasure I have on earth, but on how much spiritual treasure is laid up for me in glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.