Session 5: How Humankind Sees Money

➡ Average Reading Time: 8 minutes Cultivating GenerosityWhen you finish this lesson you should be able to:
  • Understand the concept of the love of money
  • Comprehend the consequences that occur from the love of money

Session Preview

Money is amoral. But to love it can lead to all kinds of evil. First, we will look at four thoughts about the concept of the love of money, Then, we will discuss the consequences that may occur in our lives if we choose to love money instead of the giver of money.

Where We Are Going

How Humankind Sees Money
The Love of Money
The Love of Money will never satisfy you
The Love of Money can plunge you into ruin
The Love of Money could escort you into evil
The Love of Money can separate you from God
The Consequences of Loving Money
We will disown or dishonor God
We will stop trusting God: Selected Scriptures
We can be deceived
We can become proud
We can become conceited
We will steal from God
We will steal from others
Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going

How Humankind Sees Money

Money is a gift and blessing from God. How we regard it tells us a lot about whether we control money or money controls us. Ever heard anyone say, “If I only had a million dollars, I would give a lot of it to the Lord.” The question is not what would you do if you had a million dollars, but what are you doing with the ten, twenty, fifty, hundred, or thousand dollars that you presently have?

The Love of Money

Remember, God owns all the money. He gives it to us as a gift and a blessing. We should love the giver and not be controlled by the gift. Here are some interesting thoughts to consider about the love money.

| The Love of Money will never satisfy you

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them? (Ecc. 5.10-11)

The next verse in Ecclesiastes has a true ring to it.

The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income. So what is the advantage of wealth— except perhaps to watch it as it runs through your fingers! (Ecc. 5.11 Living Bible)

Verses 8-9 suggests that the money we work for is taken by the government and that we should not be surprised that the poor are oppressed and that their justice and rights are denied. Verse 10 suggests that a person’s greed becomes meaningless. Verse 11 then tells us plainly that even if we had more, we would probably not give any more than we are presently giving from what we have.

| The Love of Money can plunge you into ruin

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Tim. 6.9).

Haven’t we all heard about people who would like to become rich and why they dream of riches? There are as many reasons as there are people. Paul told Timothy that those who wish to become rich open themselves up to an attack and could be snared by it. Think of an animal who is seduced by what is placed before it in a trap. For all intents and purposes, when the animal enters it, he or she has forfeited his or her life. Paul also says that those who wish to be rich fall into dangerous desires (foolish and harmful). This may mean that they lust for more and more. The desire for money tends to be an insatiable thirst. Finally, those who wish to be rich are plunged into ruin and destruction. These words carry a sense of moral destruction. There is a downward progression in Paul’s words. The desire for riches leads to being trapped by their lust for more and, finally, dragged into some moral destruction. We might translate the verse this way: “People who want to get rich are attacked by Satan and caught in his trap. They are overcome by foolish and harmful desires which pull them down to complete and final destruction.” One might note that the specific context of this passage is written about the false teachers in the ecclesiae at Ephesus. It reaches out laterally to any who would want to get rich.

| The Love of Money could escort you into evil

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim. 6.10).

We must be clear. Money is not the root of evil. It is the love of money that leads to evil. We can have a lot of money and love it or not love it, or we can have very little money and love it or not love it. Money is amoral! The issue here is attitude. It is one’s attitude about money that leads one into all sorts of evil. The word “root” in this passage could be translated source and the little article “a” should be “the.” It should read “the love of money is the source of all kinds of evil.”

| The Love of Money can separate you from God

In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6.24). Scripture is full of stories of lovers of money being separated from God. Achan brought down the wrath of God on Israel and his family because of money (Joshua 7). Balaam tried to curse the people of God for a little money (Numbers 22.1-22, cf. 31.8, 16). Delilah betrayed Samson and brought him to ruin because of money (Judges 16.4-31). Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives because of money (Acts 5.1-11). Judas sold Jesus for money (Matthew 26.14-16). I would think that the followers of Jesus would not want to be counted with this motley crew of money lovers.

The Consequences Of Loving Money

For every action, there is a consequence. For those who choose to be lovers of the gift instead of the giver, there will be certain consequences.

| We Will Disown or Dishonor God

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God (Proverbs 30.8-9).

One must wonder if Agur the author of these words might not have had Solomon in mind when he wrote them. To gain money for his treasury, Solomon married foreign wives and brought idolatry into Israel. These actions ruined his life.

| We will stop trusting God: Selected Scriptures

It is easy when you have a lot of money to begin to trust it. You can develop a sense of security when your bank account is full, your stocks are rising, and your retirement fund is secure. The book of Job speaks to this position. If I have put my trust in money, if my happiness depends on wealth, or if I have looked at the sun shining in the skies or the moon walking down her silver pathway and my heart has been secretly enticed, and I have worshiped them by kissing my hand to them, this, too, must be punished by the judges. For if I had done such things, it would mean that I denied the God of heaven (Job 31.24-28 Living Bible).

Proverbs tells the same tale.

Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf (Proverbs 11.28).

Paul writes to Timothy with a similar exhortation.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6.17).

We must note that Paul writes that God graciously (richly) provides us with everything to enjoy. We often live with such ascetic tendencies that it is difficult for us to enjoy the gifts that God has given us: the beauty of the world that we live in, its sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations, forests, animals, etc.; our families; fathers, mothers, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We are so caught up in our day-to-day existence that we forget to enjoy life. I have often told my kids that the specific day they are living will never occur again. Once it has passed it is gone forever. It cannot be retrieved. So enjoy the day to its fullest. We live far below the level of enjoyment in which God has provided for us to live.

| We can be deceived

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful (Mark 4.18-19).

Jesus told his disciples among other things in the Parable of the Sower that wealth can be deceitful or give a false impression that you are secure. Building on the wrong foundation will cause great pain and agony.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle (Proverbs 23.4-5).

Building on the wrong foundation will cause great pain and agony.

| We can become proud

Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (Deut. 8.12-14).

Again, the ease of which our attitude turns against the one who owns it all is prevalent.

| We can become conceited

The rich are wise in their own eyes;
one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are
(Proverbs 28.11).

Living Bible paraphrases it this way, “Rich men are conceited, but their real poverty is evident to the poor.”

| We will steal from God

When you love money, you tend to even steal from God. To the ones restored to their land, he asked the question through his prophet,

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3.8

The point of this passage is that if you keep from God what is rightfully his, you are stealing from him. By the way, don’t think of the word “tithes” as meaning ten percent of your income and then get caught up in the modern argument about “net” or “gross” income. We will discuss that subject in another session.

| We will steal from Others

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3.17)

We have seen this passage earlier. We may say that when a person has money and sees his brother or sister in need and does not give to them, it is like stealing from them the gift and blessing of God.

Where Have We Been And Where We Are Going

The whole issue of money is about attitude. If you have a lover of money attitude, some severe consequences await you.

Remember, all money belongs to God. It’s all his! We are just the managers of it. Our task is to bring glory and honor to God in the use of his gift.

Fasten your seatbelts as we turn to the First Testament and discuss the concept of “tithes and offerings.”

Community Discussion Questions

➡ |CDQ Info|

  • In what ways do you make choices to love money?
  • How has the lure of riches caused you to respond to your family, friends, business associates, etc.?
  • What kinds of evil have you noticed in your life that have come because of your love for money?
  • In what way do you make choices that ultimately cause you to choose between God and money?
  • How have you dishonored God because you pursued money?
  • How does having money or the pursuit of it cause you to place your trust in it instead of God?
  • How has the love of money deceived you?
  • In what ways do you continually steal from God?
  • In what ways have you stolen from your brothers and sisters?

End of Session
 

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)