Summary: Money is a major challenge for anyone who wants to be a follower of Jesus and a child of God.
The Feast of Great Joy
Too many of us worship at the “Shrine of the Golden Arches”
In Dangers, Toils & Snares, John Ortberg writes:
When we take our children to the shrine of the Golden Arches, they always lust for the meal that comes with a cheap little prize, a combination christened, in a moment of marketing genius, the Happy Meal.
You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a dinosaur stamp; you’re buying happiness. Their advertisements have convinced my children they have a little McDonald-shaped vacuum in their souls: "Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in a happy meal."
I try to buy off the kids sometimes. I tell them to order only the food and I’ll give them a quarter to buy a little toy on their own. But the cry goes up, "I want a Happy Meal." All over the restaurant, people crane their necks to look at the tight-fisted, penny-pinching cheapskate of a parent who would deny a child the meal of great joy.
The problem with the Happy Meal is that the happy wears off, and they need a new fix. No child discovers lasting happiness in just one: "Remember that Happy Meal? What great joy I found there!"
Happy Meals bring happiness only to McDonalds. You ever wonder why Ronald McDonald wears that grin? Twenty billion Happy Meals, that’s why.
When you get older, you don’t get any smarter; your happy meals just get more expensive.
Citation: John Ortberg, Dangers, Toils & Snares: Resisting the Hidden Temptations of Ministry (Multnomah, 1994), pp.99-100
Matters of the Heart
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Money is a major challenge for anyone who wants to be a follower of Jesus and a child of God.
That’s why so much of the NT is about money. There are 2000 verses in the Bible about money. There are 500 about prayer. Jesus told 38 parables – 16 were about money.
Why did Jesus talk so much about money? I believe it is because so many people treat it like God.
God vs. Money
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Money has godlike powers – we love it because of what it does. Money gives us priority in society, it provides for our every need, it solves every problem and gives everything we could ever want – if you just have enough of it.
But money is a caustic, jealous ruler. It causes an unquenchable thirst for more and it demands your total attention as the first place in your life. It buys pleasure but only in exchange for becoming master of your life.
In my observations over the years people want to be givers. It is in their God given nature to share good things with others. People want to be givers. They want to support the work of God’s Kingdom. They want to help out their brothers and sisters and they want to do something to help change their world.
But many of us have been swallowed up and eaten alive by the false god of our modern American culture – money. We are addicted to stuff.
The verse before this one tells us that it is the desire for what money can do that gets us into trouble. We get addicted to money and spending…
Addicted to Spending
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Most of us are addicted to spending. Our culture is all about spending. Our world runs on advertising and marketing. We are surrounded by, immersed, soaked, pummeled by messages that tell us that we need what they have for us.
The tell us to buy stuff! All around us there are messages telling you to buy the meal of great joy – a Happy Meal for only $2.99, a shiny new 8 cylinder belchfire automobile for only $41496 or $349 monthly for 5 years, or
We are not called people anymore. We are called consumers and we consume so much that we have gone into debt to do it.
The average consumer carries 8 cards and 20% of the cards are maxed out.
So if Godliness with contentment is great gain then ungodliness with discontentment is great loss. What stands between the great gain and the great loss is one simple fact of life… debt.