In our materialistic age, it’s hardly surprising that one of the best-known verses in the Bible is about money.
What IS surprising is that “Money” is NOT, as has so often been misquoted, “the root of all evil.” On the contrary, without money no one in today’s world would be able to function. (2 Tim 6:9,10)
No, the real problem is the “LOVE of money,” a love which, the verse goes on to explain, causes some to “stab themselves all over with many pains.” In contrast, the secret of a happy life is learning to be content, to want what you have – but try telling that to a wannabe 1 percenter!
Those determined to be rich will never be satisfied, no matter how much money they acquire. And it’s not just the luxury lifestyle they crave. For many, it’s the thrill of the chase, the next big deal, the gamble that pays off, the battle for supremacy, the one-upmanship. The power.
Obsessed with power, a well-known magnate built a temple on one of the islands he owned, or so the story goes. Here, he would spend hours communing with dubious deities, invoking their powers to make him stronger, cleverer and more powerful than his rivals. His family life was a mess, his first wife committed suicide, his second wife divorced him, his children died tragically, he couldn’t eat properly and his health was abysmal. His only ‘joy’ in life, if you can call it that, was his massive fortune and in knowing he owned a bigger yacht than anyone else on the planet! The demons did their job!
Not all lovers of money splash out on luxuries, of course; some rich people are extremely miserly, like the zillionaire tycoon who couldn’t spot a small coin in the gutter without stooping to pick it up! Or like Jean Paul Getty who refused to pay a ransom when his grandson was kidnapped. At least he learned from his mistakes; two years before he died, he said: “Money doesn’t necessarily have any connection with happiness. Maybe with unhappiness.”
Then there was Henrietta Howland Green. At her death in 1916, this American woman was worth approximately $95,000,000. Yet, rather than pay for urgent medical treatment for her son, she wasted valuable time searching for a free clinic, a delay which undoubtedly cost the boy his leg. Henrietta was just as mean with her own wellbeing, virtually living on cold oatmeal (she felt heating it up was a waste of money!), and eventually dying of apoplexy after a heated argument over skimmed milk - possibly the nearest she ever came to any human warmth!
In itself, money doesn’t make you mercenary. There are poor people who love money so much they’d kill for it and wealthy people who, viewing their fortune merely as a mere by-product of sheer hard work and talent, are glad to share it with others.
Such people have no doubt come to realise what really matters. That, rich or poor, there’s more happiness in giving than receiving. And, that being content with what we have – family, friends, food on the table – is worth more than all the money in the world!