I usually don’t post spiritual exhortations like this at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, but this one hit me between the eyes so I am going to address it here. It comes from Patrick Michael, a professor at the Irish Bible Institute in Dublin. It was written for Scot McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed. Here is a taste:
I’ve been thinking a bit about money recently, not least prompted by Ireland’s recent financial apocalypse that current and future generations will be paying off for years to come.
My proposal for this guest post (thanks for the invite Scot) is that we (western Christians) have, by and large, read the Bible in a way that neuters much of what Scripture says about money…
The Bible has an astonishing amount to say about money. Yes, some of it is comforting to Westerners – it seems to legitimate private property, affirm personal responsibility and (within limits) views prosperity as valid fruit of hard work and a sign of God’s blessing.
But the vast majority of the Bible’s teaching on money should make us very wary indeed of all that money brings. I suggest that in both in the Old and New Testaments the overwhelming message is this:
‘Money is highly dangerous to your spiritual health’
Repeatedly the Bible links money with spiritually destructive attitudes and actions such as:
- greed with exploitation and injustice (Amos 8:4-6);
- wealth with pride (Ezek. 28:4-5);
- covetousness with destroyed relationships (Exod. 20:17);
- desire for more with discontent (Heb. 13:5-6);
- riches with an utter inability to enter the kingdom of God (Mt. 19:6-24);
- lust for more with selfishness and futility of life (Eph. 4:17-19; 2 Tim 3:1-5);
- the love of money as a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10);
- having plenty with spiritual peril (Lk. 12:13-21).
Jesus says “You cannot serve both God and money” (Lk. 16:13) and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Lk. 12:34). His words should make his followers highly cautious and self-critical in their use of and attitudes to money. Yet we tend to filter them out.
When it comes to money, are we so deeply shaped by our consumerist, individualist and capitalist culture that we take it as a given – a natural ‘good’, a blessing from God and a fruit of our hard work? We earn it, handle it, borrow it, spend it, save it and give some of it away – but, if you are like me, we rarely really think about it beyond the desire to have a bit more. And we certainly don’t think of it as spiritually dangerous….
Read the the rest here.