I recently watched a movie in which one of the primary characters became fixated on the gold he had found. He thought it would make him powerful and fulfill his dreams. But when he acquired it he found it made him powerless, and turned his life into a nightmare. Along the way his close friends watched him become someone else. They referred to him as being sick. It nearly ruined all of his relationships. During the process a mentor warned one of the concerned friends, “Don't underestimate the evil of gold. Gold over which a serpent had long brooded. Dragon-sickness seeps into the hearts of all who came to this Mountain. Almost all.” The fact is, we are all susceptible to the sickness that accompanies great wealth. But it doesn’t have to be a mountain full of gold that causes us to turn from those things in life which truly matter, like relationships, love, joy, peace, contentment, etc. Mandy people would abandon their good nature for the chance at an extra ten thousand dollars.
Money does not naturally improve who you are. It gives the illusion that life will be better simply because you have more buying power. The reality is that money can impoverish us as quickly as it can empower us. The Bible talks about money and wealth as much as it talks about anything else. It tells us that money is not bad in and of itself, but it also warns us against trusting in it and pursuing it. We were created to value and use money, but we were not created to love it. When acquiring money becomes a priority in our lives, it usually replaces something of greater value. We must apply more intensity to the guarding of our heart than to the building of our bank account. And you cannot assume that just because you are Christians that we are somehow immune to the illusion of wealth. Jesus, while talking about how different types of people are affected by their environment said, “Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction/deceitfulness/pleasure of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)
The struggling hero in our movie ultimately saw his error, and came to make this statement with his dying breath, “If more people valued home more than gold, this world would be a merrier place.” Go make some money today, but don’t let it make you. At your funeral, no one will talk about how much money you made today.
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
[Quotes and image from The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies}