Thursday, January 19, 2017
A Money Grubbing Man
J. Paul Getty was asked how to make money. “Some people find oil. Others don’t,” he replied.
Case in point: Some years ago my father bought a few hundred acres of scrub brush in North Texas. Two years later the Corps of Engineers raised the level of a nearby lake and turned his little piece of dirt into valuable lakefront property. Shrewd planning? No, dumb luck.
On second thought, not really. Money–making isn’t happenstance, but providence, according to Moses: “God gives the power to make wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17,18). That’s true across the board. But, I hasten to add, God doesn’t give the power to make wealth to everyone. It can be the worst thing that ever happened to us: Money–grubbing can ruin our souls.
If God gives us money we should be thankful and use our wealth wisely, but “Those who want to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Lust for wealth can corrode and corrupt our hearts and turn them away from God. “The heart is ravaged by the same moth and rust that devour the treasure!” George McDonald said. How can we who follow Jesus possibly believe that the chief end of our lives is to make money? Who of us could stand before our Lord, “who for our sakes became poor,” look Him in the face and say, “I want to be rich and buy stuff?”
In the opening scene of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” poverty–stricken Tevya prays, “Oh, dear Lord, it’s no shame to be poor, but it’s no great honor, either. So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?" Then he goes on to sing, “If I Were A Rich Man,” the last four lines of which are these:
God who made the heavens higher than the land,
You decreed me surely what I am,
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan,
If I were a wealthy man?
“Maybe,” Jesus would say.