America’s Dark Obsession with Money is Leading People Astray
Of all the cultures that have had access to excess, America is very likely the most excessive of all. As I have said for many years, our nation is rolling in excess, reveling in luxury, revolting in morals, and rotting in sin. One of the most significant proofs is our national obsession with money. We are certainly not the only nation to idolize wealth, but we have done so to a degree heretofore unknown in the world.
While Israel was at Mount Sinai awaiting Moses’ return from his conference with the Almighty, they became bored and distracted. Moses had disappeared into the cloud that covered the apex of the mountain. His encounter there with God lasted forty days. There was lightning and thunder, , noises clamor and uproar which no person had ever heard before. The people presumed Moses must have perished. Something had to be done.
Someone looked back over their shoulder and surmised that they needed to go back to Egypt rather than continue their arduous journey into what they surely thought was an uncertain future. However, they would need to select a new leader, so the congregation persuaded Aaron to design a statue of a calf which he overlaid with gold. Their idol was gold in those days. Some things never change.
A major misconception regarding money is that it is evil. You can always find those around the church who will confidently affirm that even the Bible says so. Please allow my voice to be raised with even greater confidence to affirm that the Bible says no such thing. Here is what God’s word does say, from 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil. While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Money is not evil. It is benign, neither good nor bad. It is simply a method of exchange developed to provide a method to acquire goods and services which are necessary or desirable. Money is simply a tool. Ask yourself this question: if money is inherently evil, why do people work forty hours a week or more to get it? The ways in which money can be used may be good or evil, but money itself is neutral. The love of money, however, is another matter entirely. As believers, we have committed ourselves to loving God supremely. Anything we love more than, or in place of, God is an idol.
So, Should Christians Avoid Wealth?
Another highly promoted and verifiably false myth is that the Bible condemns wealth. I’m certain that you have encountered numerous individuals who are covetous even despite the fact they actually possess little or nothing. Wealth is not a vice, but it can very easily become a burden rather than a blessing. Wealthy people are not intrinsically evil. Some claim that the rich have only achieved wealth by unlawful or unethical means. Unfortunately, some have—and this is not just a relic of past generations. The well-documented and ongoing existence of child labor, illegal narcotics manufacturing, sweatshops, and human trafficking give ample testimony to the power and pervasiveness of the idol of covetousness.
Riches that are acquired by unlawful or unethical means are not a blessing to anyone—quite the opposite. King Midas, the protagonist in the ancient myth about the golden touch, discovered this to his dismay. He found that the ability to turn things into gold did not result in benefit. On the contrary, it destroyed everything that was precious to him.
Listen to this graphic condemnation of the unrighteous among the wealthy, from James 5:1-6: “Come now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures for the last days. 4 Indeed the wages that you kept back by fraud from the laborers who harvested your fields are crying, and the cries of those who harvested have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5 You have lived in pleasure on the earth and have been wayward. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed the righteous man who does not resist you.”
Money is a good servant, but a poor master. It will buy a house, but will never produce a home. It can purchase sex, but not love. It can acquire an alarm system, but it will be unable to provide security. It can purchase medicine, but not health; a bed, but not sleep. It can provide everything necessary from a material standpoint, but it can do absolutely nothing to provide for our spiritual needs.
However, it is wrong to assume that the only way to acquire an abundance of finances is by oppressing and victimizing others. There are many who have legitimately amassed great sums as a result of hard work, brilliant innovation, or creative activity.
Just as we must never automatically condemn the rich, we must resist the temptation to hold poverty as a virtue. Those existing in poverty do so for many reasons. Often poverty often rises to destroy people through no fault of their own. It may be the result of an accident or, injury, poor health, natural disasters, or, yes, systemic oppression. In other cases, poverty has a direct correlation to the decisions individuals make. Possibilities range from a lack of restraint, irresponsible behavior, or even criminal activity.
The point is, whether rich, poor, or somewhere in between, the love of money can be a problem for anyone, turning a useful and helpful means of exchange into a deceitful and demanding taskmaster.
To read more from Rod Parsley’s Idolatry in America, visit MyCharismaShop.com