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Money Can’t Buy Me Love

July 27, 2016

I thought of the Beatles’ song, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” when I read through the Scripture texts for this week.[1] Anyone who has ever been in love knows that beyond the basic needs of food and shelter, money is superfluous to the relationship—to the magical spark between two people in love that endures for years, through good times and bad, during healthy periods and periods of illness. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, tells us that money is useless when it comes to the most enduring things of life. He says that he “amassed silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings . . . men and women singers, and a harem as well” (Ecclesiastes 2: 8). But he concedes that these things are worthless compared to the gifts that God gives to “one who pleases him . . . wisdom and knowledge and joy.” All other endeavors are “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 26).

Paul picks up the same theme in counseling us to “Set your mind on things that are above, and not on things that are on the earth.” (Colossians 3: 2). Jesus confirms this when he says “Take care and be on your guard against all covetness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15). He told the crowd a story of a rich man who worked for many years amassing great wealth, thinking that he would finally be able to “Relax, eat, drink, and be merry,” (Luke 12:19). But storing up earthly treasure brings no joy when the soul is lost in the process. Jesus concluded “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21).

Peter Kreeft wrote a book a few years ago called Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters, consisting of 162 short life lessons. The sixth letter is called “The Most Important Person.” This letter lists nine persons and things from most important to least important: “The most important person is God . . . it is true whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. So you’d better learn to know it and like it and believe it.” At the bottom of the list is things: “Use things and love people, not vice versa,” (Kreeft, Before I Go, Sheed & Ward (2008) pp. 12-13).

Dr. Stephen Lien preaches a sermon called “The Main Thing,” which is Jesus Christ crucified. Our goal should be to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives, and not to “major in minors.” “If we desire to live the crucified life, we must completely submit in obedience to the Lord and surrender our lives to God’s authority so that He can do His work. Once we are out of His way, He then has the opportunity to reveal Himself to us and to the world around us as in no other way” (A.W. Tozer, The Crucified Life (2011), Compiled and Edited by James L. Snyder, Bethany House, p. 206).

All of these messages ask us to remember our priorities—to put God first and things last. Tozer suggests “Maybe God is calling you to do something extraordinary, something that does not appear on your calendar or agenda, something to revive your own soul.” (The Crucified Life, p. 176-177, emphasis added). God wants us to revive our souls, not to lose them in a mindless pursuit of pleasure. Apply your resources—your time, talents and treasure to the things of God that will last forever. If you put him first, you will be on the road to an adventure that will last an eternity.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost are Psalm 100; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-26; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21.

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