Summary: 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.

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 million.

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

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