Summary: It is hard to say anything about money, either negative or positive, that cannot be demonstrated to be a valid statement.

Someone said, life is an everlasting struggle to keep money

coming in, and teeth, hair, and vital organs from coming out. Few

have known this better than General Ulysses S. Grant. He led the

armies of the North to victory in the Civil War, and was twice

elected president of the United States. He was a fairly wealthy man

when he retired from public office, but he proved that the wealthy

have problems with money too. They make mistakes on a grander

scale. Grant invested his capital in a new Wall Street investment

firm operated by a smooth talking young man, whom Grant

considered a financial wizard. If the ability to make money

disappear was what he meant, then he was a wizard, indeed, for

Grant lost everything, and at 62 he was penniless.

Among his many friends was Samuel Clemens who had

published many successful books under the name of Mark Twain.

Clemens convinced Grant he should write about the Civil War, and

he would publish his book. Grant signed the contract and got to

work producing two volumes that rank among the world's great

military narratives. Grant got 10 thousand in advance, and his

widow got 200 thousand in royalties. His heirs also got close to half

a million. Clemens made a fortune on the deal, and he decided to try

it with two other famous generals. It didn't work, and Clemens had

some reverses that led him to go bankrupt at age 59. He too made a

come back, and when he died in 1910 he left his heirs over half a


These two famous men illustrate the universal battle of life-how

to make money; how to keep it, and how to make it count. The

Christian does not escape this battle at all. The Christian spends a

large portion of life engaged in making, spending, giving, saving,

and losing money. What makes this hard is the Christian is not

endowed with any special gift that enables him to be any wiser than

the non-Christian in his management of money. That is why the

New Testament is so full of warnings about money, and the danger

of being obsessed by it. There is also, as in our text, a lot of New

Testament advice on how to use money wisely.

All of this would be unnecessary if Christians were just naturally

financial wizards, but this is not the case. Martin Luther was one of

the great theological minds of history, but he had no skill whatever

with money management. At age 42 he had not yet saved a penny.

When he married Katherine Von Bora she discovered he was a

money management drop out, who let money slip through his fingers

with no accounting for where it went. She had to tell their banker

not to honor a draft unless she first approved it. She had to take

over to protect him from himself. This story has been repeated over

and over again in the lives of Christian leaders.

C.S. Lewis was one of the most brilliant Christians of the 20th

century, but he had no sense of money management. When Joy

Davidman married him, she found that he had thousands of pounds

he didn't even know he had. He also had a small fortune in his

checking account, and this was back in the day when there was no

interest on it. She quickly got it into a savings account.

One of the reasons many genius type people are not good money

managers is because money is not that important to them. They are

preoccupied with other and greater things. Einstein, for example,

sometimes used his check as a book mark, and then turned it into

the library. Robert Frost wrote,

Never ask of money spent

Where the spender thinks it went.

Nobody was ever meant

To remember or invent

What they did with every cent.

It is admirable to be preoccupied with values greater than money,

and not to be obsessed with it. Prov. 3:13-14 says, "Blessed is the

man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding. For she

is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold."

Luther and Lewis were wise in devoting their minds to greater

values than money management. But the higher wisdom yet is to

know how to use money wisely without it being the dominant

occupation of your mind. The Proverbs also speak highly of the

values of money. Prov. 10:15-16 says, "The wealth of the rich is

their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor. The wages of

the righteous brings them life, but the income of the wicked brings

them punishment." The balance life calls for both the avoidance of

addiction to money, and the application of the advantages of money.

In other words, money is a paradox. It is both dangerous and

delightful; a curse and a blessing.

Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil, and Mark

Twain said, the lack of money is the root of all evil. The one does

not eliminate the other, for Twain's remark compliments Paul's. It

is lack of money that leads people to such an obsessive love of it that

they do all kinds of evil to get it. The point is, it is hard to say

anything about money, either negative or positive, that cannot be

demonstrated to be a valid statement. The poem, The Song Of Silver says,

Doug from the mountain-side, washed in the glen

Servant am I or the master of men.

Steal me, I curse you,

Earn me, I bless you;

Grasp me and hand me, a friend I shall possess you.

Lie for me, die for me, covet me, take me,

Angel or devil, I am what you make me.

This is just what Paul is saying in our text. Paul recognizes fully

the paradox of money, and so he covers both sides by sharing

warnings as to its dangers, and wisdom as to its delights. If we are

going to open our homes to Christ, we will have to be aware that He

is aware of how we see and use money. This is a vital part of our

life for Him, for money is a major means by which we become a part

of His upper class, which is the servant class. It is important that we

have a good grasp of both the dangers and delights of money. First

lets look at-


The primary danger is in its power to deceive us into believing it

is a substitute for God. Paul says the eagerness to be rich has led

some to wander from the faith. Moneytheism- the almighty dollar

replaces monotheism. Christians can be deceived into thinking of it

as a substitute for their love. They expect money to convey their

love, and solve all problems in relationships. Joyce Landolf in her

book, Tough And Tender writes, "We seem to have accepted money

as the cure-all for every disease, need, or problem imaginable. A

man who has not said one real thing to his wife in years shrugs his

shoulders and says, 'I don't know what she wants-she's got

everything. She can go out and buy anything. She's got the house

clothes, and tons of things. What else does she need?' He has made

the money, bought the myth, and paid for it. All he has to show for

himself is a large brick wall made up of material possessions which

stand solidly between him and his wife. He thought his money

would buy a bridge; instead it has built a wall,...."

That is why money is so dangerous. It makes so many people

sincere in their conviction that it will be the cure-all. There are few

human beings alive who have not sincerely thought that a million

dollars would solve all of their problems. It could, in fact, do just

that, but it could also add a whole new batch that you never

dreamed of having. Paul says those who desire to get rich mess their

lives up good. Paul must have had some good examples in his day,

but we have many more in our day. Kit Konolige has written a book

called, The Richest Woman In The World. It is a fascinating book,

not about common place millionaires, but about those more rare

people who have over 150 million. There are only between 400 and

500 such people in the United States, and 58 of them are women.

Before you turn green with envy, you need to know how much it

cost to be this rich. First of all, you are usually widowed or divorced.

If you are still married to a man who has not worked himself to

death, you probably have an unfaithful husband, and a very

unhappy relationship. There is an excellent chance that you hate

your kids, and the feeling is mutual. Many are the stories like that

of John Dodge of the auto fortune, who in 1983 sued his mother for

4 million. She had just gone on a world wide shopping spree and

had spent 11 million, so she was short of cash. She gave him

500,000, and that started a fight. The feuds and scandals, and the

disgraceful behavior of the rich is all on record. We don't have to go

by faith in Paul's warning, for we have all we need by sight.

Palm Beach Florida is the home of the super rich where their

motto is, anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, and they

lived by that motto. It is a materialistic paradise, but it is an Eden

after the fall, with drugs, divorce, immorality, suicide, prejudice,

and all of the miseries of the heart that you find in the ghetto. They

drowned their sorrows in expensive champagne rather than cheap

wine, but it does not lead to anymore happiness. Many of those rich

people spend a fortune on psychoanalysis. They have guilts that rob

them of their peace of mind, and they can't be bought off. They live

so often in fear. They have fear of someone kidnapping their

children; fear of being robbed, and all sorts of fears about losing

their money.

They are often depressed, for they have nothing to do. They

don't have to do anything, and so they do those things that people do

who don't have to do anything: They play, go to balls, socialize, and

seldom do anything creative. This leads to them missing so much of

the joy of life, for they miss creative work. They never know if

anyone likes them for themselves, rather than their money, and they

usually learn the hard way that they are targets of many fortune

hunters and con games. Their temptation to do evil is

overwhelming, because they can afford to do anything, and few can

escape being corrupted by such power.

The point of all this, and we haven't started to cover it all, is that

Paul is right, and it can be documented by history and

contemporary life-money is dangerous. If you start falling in love

with it, you will end up married to a financial frankenstein. It is a

monster of a monster that will make you pay a price to be rich that

is not worth it. Most people can't afford to be rich, but they do not

realize it until it is too late. It is true that all of these problems are

experienced by the poor and the middle class as well, but they have

the hope that money will solve their problems. The rich have no

such hope. Let's look now at-


In verses 17-19 Paul stresses two positive delights of money by

saying it is the key to enjoyment, and to the service of others needs.

God has given us everything He says for our enjoyment, and with

the excess we can pass it on and help others to enjoy life. Money

wisely used is a major factor in happiness, both for time and

eternity, for a wise use of it in time will lay up treasure for you in

eternity. In this chapter where Paul warns about the danger of the

love of money, he also makes it clear that money can be a powerful

agent of love. Paul's point in saying the love of money is the root of

all kinds of evil was not to get Christians to hate money, but to get

them to see that a proper use of money can make it the root of all

kinds of good. You cannot serve God and mammon, but you can

serve God with mammon.

This paragraph of Paul deals with the other side of the paradox,

and makes money the friend of the Christian, and the tool by which

he does the will of God. The majority of the things we enjoy in life,

and which give us pleasure and grateful hearts, are those things that

we have been able to make our own because we have had money.

There is joy, not only in having food, shelter, and clothing, and all

the security and self-esteem these provide, but there is joy in being

able to provide these for those we love. Paul says that those who do

not provide for their own are worse than infidels. Our happiness as

people, and as Christians, is directly involved with the money we

have to provide for our family.

In order to be generous you have to have an excess of money. It

is hard for a starving man with a piece of crust to be generous. Only

those who have more than they need can do good deeds, and meet

the needs of those who do not have the necessities. In other words,

one of the delights of money is that it gives you the ability to be a

source of enjoyment for those beyond your family. The reason it is

more blessed to give than to receive is, because when you are a giver

it means you have been blest with excess wealth, and you already

enjoy what the receiver does, plus you get the added joy of being the

source of their enjoyment. The receiver is blest, but the giver is

doubled blest, and this is one of the delights of money being wisely

used. It is a powerful force for good in the world.

Obedience to all of Christ's commands to feed the hungry, clothe

the naked, and in general meet the needs of suffering people, all

depend on having money. The Good Samaritan could not have

taken the beaten man to a inn and paid for his care had he not had

enough money. His loving heart would not have mattered had he

been broke, for he needed money to adequately meet this man's

needs. Jesus could feed the 5,000 without an investment of funds,

but He knows we cannot feed anyone without money, and so He

knows that money is the key to caring about needy people. The

ministries of the church all over the world depend upon God's

people sharing their wealth.

Good money management enables the Christian to have more to

give, and it helps the body of Christ do its job more effectively.

Pharaoh saw in Joseph a man with a mind for management. He let

him take over the management of Egypt's agriculture. Joseph

developed a massive savings program, whereby he would save the

abundance of the bountiful years to supply the need in the barren

years. We do not know how many lives he saved, but on top of the

Egyptian's, he saved his own family, and thereby the survival of

God's people.

God's plan of salvation does include the idea of saving money,

and the wise use of money. Jesus needed to earn money as a

carpenter, and He needed a treasurer to take care of the purchases

made for His band of disciples. There is no escape for the need for

money, but if we have the right attitude, we can see it is a tool to

help us be all that God wants us to be. You cannot be a steward of

God if you do not have any money to manage.

Well done thou good and faithful servant was spoken to one who

had managed his master's money wisely. The wise use of money is a

key measure of our maturity as stewards of the master. Every

ministry in history has had to deal with money, and when it is not

done wisely the kingdom suffers, but when it is done wisely the

kingdom prospers.

Evangeline Booth after 30 years of leading the Salvation Army

had 70 million dollars in capital and property to leave to her

successors. She lived a life of very careful economy,

and even though she was offered the chance to live like royalty, and

was given the chance to stay in the most luxurious places, she

refused lest people think she was using donations for her benefit.

Rich people knew she used her money to help the poor, and that is

why she received checks for up to a half a million dollars.

R. G. LeTourneau was one of the greatest stewards of God in

history. When the book, God Runs My Business, was published in

1941, he had already given 10 million to the cause of Christ. His

motto was, "Not how much of my money do I give to God, but how

much of God's money do I keep for myself." He recognized that all

he had was a gift from God, and his job was to use it wisely for his

master, and he did.

When Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea and Cliff Borrows,

and others, sat down to plan the strategy of their evangelism, they

looked at the issues that had to be corrected that made evangelists

unpopular. The number one problem was money. The constant

begging and manipulation of people for money gave evangelists a

bad name. They wanted to be different, and they wanted to use

money wisely, and this made Graham the major evangelist of this

century. Back in 1952, a millionaire came to Graham. He said he

would underwrite his ministry so that he would not have to worry

about finances. Graham refused the offer, for he said he gets

thousands of letters a week with a dollar of five dollars in them, and

he said, "My work would nose-dive immediately if they knew that a

rich man was underwriting me."

All of live on both sides of the paradox of money, but the more we

become aware of the presence of Christ in our lives, the more we will

move from the dangers of money into the delights of money. One of

the most dramatic examples of this is the life of Mary K. Beard.

Evelyn Christensen titles her story in her book, What Happens

When God Answers. She was abused by her alcoholic father who

broke her back, all her ribs, and her nose twice. She ran away from

home at 15 and married the first man she could find. He was a

gambler and a thief. For 5 years she followed him in a continuous

crime spree. She lived with beautiful clothes, jewels, and a costume

built car. They lived for money, for it was their God.

They were eventually arrested and sentenced to 21 years in

prison. Mary repented in prison and fell on the concrete floor, and

gave her life to Christ. On March 16, 1973 this money worshiper

became a worshiper of Christ, and what a chance this made in how

she saw and used money. She first of all became the first woman in

the United States to receive a graduate degree while serving time in

prison. She gave her mind to Christ. She then decided to minister

to people who did not have the money to enjoy some of the common

blessings of life. Many prisoners families do not have money for

Christmas presents, for example. She started what is called Angel

Tree. Children of prisoners write down on a piece of paper what

they would like, and these are hung on Christmas trees in churches,

shopping malls, and public places. People take an angel from the

tree and purchase the gift written on it. This nation wide project

has provided presents for 31,500 children, as of 1987.

Jesus enjoyed being rich, for it was only by His infinite worth

that He could purchase our redemption. If He had no worth, He

could not have been our Savior. All giving depends on having.

Having can be a delight as well as a danger. It was Christ's delight

to give up His riches and become poor that we might be made rich.

One of the reasons we can rejoice at communion is because it

represents the basis for our inheriting eternal life and all the riches

that accompany it. Thanks to Jesus we who love Him will be rich

forever. The question for us is, is Jesus pleased with how we use

what He has given us? Are others blest because we have learned to

use money wisely? If so, then we are on the right side of the paradox

of money.