My brother Kenny, the youngest boy in our family, was very talented architectural designer. He worked for wealthy people, e.g., a major stockholder of Coca-Cola, major stockholder of Sun Oil, Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. His income dwarfed my income. There was a season in our lives when Laila and I lived on a very modest income.
Kenny called me and said: "I need you." I had been a paint contractor during my college days. He unfolded a story of working on a Florida mansion situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the inter-coastal waterway. A fabulous yacht was in the waters behind the home.
"There is a section of the home that needs a high-end paint job," he said. "I want you to come and help. I cannot trust anyone else that I know with this job."
"Kenny," I responded, "I cannot. It is bad timing. There is no way."
He would not relent. Finally, he said: "OK, here is the deal. I will fly you in. Put you up First Class. Pay for your meals. Pay you $1,000 per day!"
Well, you know the rest of the story. I made a way. I could. I did. Oh, I was glad to.
Kenny had a saying: "Harold, money is just paper!" He lived that way. He made money. He spent money. When he came to Jesus in the later years of his life he gave generously to the Jesus he loved.
The longer I live the more I see why Jesus talked so much about money. There are opinions that at least 1/3rd of the scriptures in the New Testament relate to money/stewardship. Parable of the sower. Parable of the Prodigal. Parable of the Rich Man and his barns. ...and many more references
Money is not evil. Money is not the only commodity for exchange (Ezekiel 27:12-23). Money is whatever is valued as a tool to obtain something desired. The seller has. The buyer wants.
Several years ago a lady in New York City died. The news article was about her wealth of more than a million dollars stuffed in the mattress she slept on in her shack. She died poor sleeping on paper.
Money is just paper unless it is spent. Possessing money and not making it work for increase is a waste.
Money. All over the world people use money to achieve their desires. Or they wish they had it to obtain their desires. Or they pride themselves that they possess the power to obtain from other people their desires.
Money. Earned. Inherited. Borrowed. Found. Accumulated. Spent. Invested.
The thief takes it from others. The selfish indulges. The lustful seeks pleasure. The stingy hoards it. The power-hungry manipulates. The greedy cheats. The generous gives.
Money has no feelings, but it creates feelings. It has no morals, but it inspires goodness or seeds corruption.
The foolish man lusts for its power. The wise man fears its power.
The sinner thinks of money in terms of earthly pleasure.
The saint thinks of money as a tool for eternal good.
"Just paper," my brother would say. He left it behind to go home with Jesus at age 53.
We will all leave money behind one day. The relevant question is what will we do with money while we live. Will we use it to honor God? Will we use it to satisfy our earthly desires?
If we spend to our own pleasure, there is no heavenly reward. If we give to others to be praised, there is no heavenly reward.
Will we allow the power of money to control us? Or will we allow the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom how to spend what God puts into our hands in character of one bearing a cross and following Jesus?
God does not hate wealth. The Bible names good rich men, e.g., Joseph of Arimathea, Job, Abraham, Joseph. He does hate vanity and pride.
Each of us must wrestle with our own conscience. We assess what God has loaned to us for our earthly journey. We make moral decisions based on the integrity of our soul.
What will we do with money while we live? Will we hoard it in pride? Will we invest and increase? Will we spend on our own pleasure and neglect the Church of our Lord Jesus?
The decision is ours. We will all face the consequences of our decision on Judgment Day!
Pastor Bare I Timothy 6:17-19