I remember watching game shows growing up and winding up cross-legged on the floor in anticipation of what the person would win and just how they’d pull it off. The anxiety of a contestant on who wants to be a millionaire as the music cues the suspense for the $800,000 question. The jaw-dropping moments of choosing the wrong briefcase on Deal or No Deal. It was always a riveting experience when watching them.
Watching those shows gives us the experience and exhilaration of obtaining wealth without the consequences, good or bad. We can yell and scream the answers and then watch in amazement as they get them wrong and lose everything all at once, but still go to bed later that night not having to be concerned over what went wrong because, after all, we lost nothing. The entertainment has run its course. Likewise, we can watch someone win a million dollars and nearly feel the confetti hit our face in amazement of the victory, and go to bed in resentment that we don’t have a million dollars to spend and dream before sleep about what we would do with all that money.
DECEPTION OF THE HEART
When the Bible speaks on money, more often than not it always gives a prescription of beware. The dollar is not the problem. The value of the dollar is not the problem. The material its made of is not the problem. It’s the perception of what it can do that is the problem. Money is only as valuable as the seller’s interest in obtaining it, and that allows as much room as possible for all sorts of sins. Exploitation, manipulation, fraudulence, abuse, scandal, lies, pride, gluttony, self-sufficiency… just to name a few.
Money is deceitful because our hearts our deceitful.
Our hearts can’t be trusted and will deceive us, and given the opportunity to wield the world’s goods at a break-neck pace provides a four lane highway into debauchery.
More money promises a happy future, a smiling family, an exhilarating helicopter ride into a private landing pad next to the mansion on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico sharing a docked yacht just some 30 feet away from the lounge chairs facing the lagoon pool. It’s lure is a portrait of carelessness and freedom, but it so often proves to be otherwise. The same net used to capture wealth is the same net that captures the heart of its collector.
“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:8-10
The only solution to the deception of wealth is the truth of the Word. We choose to be either taught by our own hearts and the lies of the world or the truths from the mouth of the creator of the world.
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
You see, conceit, hopelessness, uncertainty is all that we get when we bite the bait of wealth and its promises. Also, we must recognize that to be wealthy itself is not sinful, hence why Paul tells Timothy to make sure that they keep their hope fixed on God who gives all things to enjoy (so they can enjoy their wealth). But at the same time, they also must be rich in goodness, rich in good works to others, generous in their giving and sharing, remembering that their generosity stores up treasure in heaven.
Have you bought the lie of wealth? Are you chasing after wealth with the prospect of gaining the world and all it has to offer to only lose your soul in the process? Repent. Turn away from that sin and cling to Him who “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” 2 Corinthians 8:9.