We live in a world obsessed with money. Jesus often spoke of money and says we cannot worship God and money at the same time, which reveals it is possible to make money a god and that money is something that can be worshipped.
Many people's attitude to money shows this to be true. The famous model Linda Evangelista said “I don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day”.
What an attitude when millions around her are starving.
In the Bible king Solomon had more riches than anyone in the world and in the book of Ecclesiastes he speaks of setting out to see if satisfaction could be found in money, riches and worldly pleasure: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 – “I said to myself, Come now, lets give pleasure a try. Lets look for the good things in life', but I found that this..was meaningless....I tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves....I owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers...I had everything a man could desire. Anything I wanted I took. I didn't restrain myself from any joy...But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere”.
If I was Solomon setting out to find happiness I wonder what would be on my list?
I like cars – so my list might have a sports car on it;
I like the sun – so my list might have on it a holiday in the sun.
Different people will put down different things on their list. However, Solomon would have us see that unless God is at the center of our list, at the centre of our lives, our list/ our lives will be meaningless.
There are many things in the world that amuse and occupy us, but satisfaction is in God alone. TV adverts would have us believe that money and 'things' satisfy and if we have enough of these all our problems will go away. The appropriately named Jonathan Self says “money is the passport to an easier and more comfortable life”.
Compare Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes 5:10: “He who loves money will not be satisfied”.
Solomon says everything we do under the sun, all we do without God, has no meaning and is like chasing the wind.
Try chasing the wind – you will never catch it;
try chasing satisfaction apart from God – you will never catch it.
Jesus spoke of not investing in this life but in the life to come. Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”.
Jesus is saying what the world offers is temporary and can be gone in the blink of an eye: moth and rust can destroy it; thieves can break in and steal it.
Contrast this with God's offer – Heaven, which can't be destroyed by moth or rust, and which no thief can break in and steal. In other words, God offer lasts forever.
Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist church, Minnesota, John Piper said on all this:
“if we don't see the greatness of God then all the things money can buy become very exciting:
if we can't see the sun we will be impressed with a street light; if we've never felt thunder and lightning we will be impressed with fire works. If we turn our back on the greatness and majesty of God we will fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures”.
At the end of Ecclesiastes, after he'd observed and tried all the world has to offer, Solomon says: “here is my conclusion: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil”.