And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
One of the deceptive dangers of money is that it can cause us to be blind to its dangers. Here’s what I mean. As a pastor, I often have people come in and talk to me about struggles in life. The range of issues is wide—marriage, parenting, harmful habits, job struggles, emotional health. What I have noticed is that, in almost fifteen years of ministry, no one has ever met with me to talk about their greed. There may be issues centered on money, but it has never been brought up to me as a struggle with greed.
I think there are at least two reasons why this is the case. First, as a brother in my small group said this week, greed is the norm in our society. Meaning, it is so common to be drawn to more money/stuff to find our security that we don’t even recognize that it could actually be a spiritual problem. Second, we still view money as a topic that is off limits to discuss with others. Our culture has a causal attitude toward sex; people talk about sex and even celebrate it. And yet, ironically, when it comes to money, people treat it as something holy and private. We just don’t talk about it. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself the question: is there anyone (other than my spouse) who knows the significant details of my finances? Have you ever wondered why that is?
Pastor Tim Keller said in a sermon once, “If you don’t talk to anybody about your finances, if nobody knows anything about what you make or spend, you may be blinded to your greed.” That was very convicting for me to hear. Jesus said money is the number one competitor for our hearts (Matthew 6:24). And strangely, we don’t ever talk about it. I have made it a goal to be more open to my accountability partner and my small group about my finances. I am keenly aware of the allure of money in my own heart. I desperately want to fight against that. Part of that fight is not allowing things to remain in the dark, but bringing it out in the light. This includes our finances.
As Christians, one of the greatest promises in the Bible is the unwavering and unfailing presence of God in our lives. Jesus, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). But what I find amazing is that the writer of Hebrews takes this promise and specifically applies it to money. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
The more Jesus becomes our greatest treasure, the more greed will lose its grip on our hearts. Do you believe that the greatest gift God could give to you is his Son of infinite worth? Do you marvel that, on the cross, Jesus died to make an enemy like you his treasure? When that grips your heart, money won’t.
Let’s find our contentment and security, not in uncertain riches, but in the faithful presence of our loving Savior.