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.

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