Summary: A look at one verse where Jesus lays out three of the dangers of money.
HOW DANGEROUS DO WE THINK IT IS? Do we treat money like safety scissors or a chainsaw?
- When you’re cutting paper with your young child or grandchild, you don’t think of the danger of the safety scissors. Sure if you really worked at it you might somehow be able to cut yourself with them, but they’re designed for safety.
- Contrast that to using a chainsaw to cut some branches off a tree. You know the intrinsic danger of a chainsaw and so you’re going to be careful with it. You know that it could do some damage if you get careless.
- We usually treat money a lot more like the safety scissors than a chainsaw.
- For most of us, we don’t really think of there being a danger when it comes to money.
- It’s a huge part of our lives but we don’t think about it having any negative impact beyond just the desire that we have for more of it.
- Yet Jesus here speaks as though we should be aware of the danger that money brings. Why does He say that and what do we need to learn from Him to avoid the danger?
THREE MONEY DANGERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
1. MONEY HAS A POWERFUL NATURAL PULL AWAY FROM GOD.
- Luke 12:15 – “Watch out! Be on your guard. . .”
- Luke 12:34.
- Luke 16:13 – two masters.
- The wording that Jesus uses here is telling. He warns them to “watch out.” More to the point, He tells them to “be on your guard.” That phrase is generally used with situations where it’s easy to let your attention wander and to end up missing a danger.
- Jesus is telling us that we need to be attentive to the dangers that money has.
- A big part of that danger is that there is a natural pull that money has. In the hands of sinful human beings, our tendencies toward selfishness and greed make money something that easily push us away from God.
- This is why Jesus said in Luke 16:13 that you cannot serve two masters – God and money. The ease with which money can become our god makes it a dangerous commodity.
- Like the chainsaw I mentioned earlier, it can be an effective and powerful tool or it can really hurt you badly. Part of making sure you don’t get hurt is realizing that you’re handling something dangerous.
- We don’t treat money as a dangerous thing.
- We see it as either a good thing or, at the very least, something not to be considered much at all.
- We need to have a better understanding of the pull that it effects away from God.
- Obviously we don’t have a choice: we have to deal with money. But it’s important that as we deal with it that we are aware of its dangers.
- Capitalism works well because at its base is greed.
- It is an efficient organizing means because everyone is motivated to work because they want more for themselves. It’s ultimately a cynical thing, but that’s what makes it work so well.
- Because we work within that economic system, we need to be aware of the natural pull away from God.
2. MONEY HAS SEVERAL WAYS THAT IT CAN CAPTURE YOUR HEART.
- Luke 12:15 – “. . . against all kinds of greed. . .”
- One of the phrases that jumped out to me in reading this verse was “all kinds.” What are various kinds of greed that are out there?
- If greed is that strong desire for more money, what are the various ways that shows up?
a. Finding security in a bank balance.
b. Spending into debt for a lifestyle that impresses.
c. Having the latest gadgets.
d. Not having money but thinking that it would solve all your problems.
e. Working endless hours to amass more money.
- In each case, someone can give into the power and control of money.
- This is important to understand because we may see one type of greed and condemn it while being blind to the greed that we have.
- For instance, someone may mock the greedy accumulation that shows up in a big home and many possessions while they have a modest home and lifestyle. Yet they find their security in the large balance that shows up on the investment statements each month. They are also held by greed (wanting to maintain that high balance) but it’s a different variety.
3. MONEY SEEMS TO OFFER ABUNDANT LIFE, BUT IN THE END IS A FALSE HOPE.
- Luke 12:15 – “. . . a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”