When Money Talks
By Gary Black
A friend of mine says that when we really value something, it dramatically affects two areas; our checkbooks and calendars. “Generosity,” he says, “depends basically on what we value.”
What do you value these days, and where will it get you? If they could talk, how would your checkbook and calendar answer that question? Do you believe, as I do, that helping people find a relationship with Christ is life’s best use of time, talents and resources?
Jesus used the word “fool” only once in scripture. He told a story of a man who spent his life building a huge farming business so he could relax and enjoy his retirement years and God said to him,You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.
(Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifu1ly: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.).
Stinging words, aren’t they…which is precisely why we work so hard to ignore them! Instead of measuring life by our “stuff,” Jesus suggests a different approach. I think he was saying, “If you want a clear view of life’s value, look at it through the lens of death. Go out some evening and stand beside a grave, then look back. There you will discover what really mattered—not cars, clothes, portfolios and stylish homes…but what you did for God and others. The people you touched with the love of God will meet you in heaven. Your stuff won’t.”
The “unsinkable” Titanic sank, April 14, 1912. I read about a woman who was fortunate enough to obtain a rare seat on one of the lifeboats. Just before they lowered the boat she insisted on going back to her room to get something of “great value.” A crew member said “Madam, if you’re not back within two minutes, we will leave without you.”
She hopped back on deck and furiously sprinted past priceless paintings and décor—through the casino where huge sums of money lay scattered across the floor—then to her cabin. Once inside, she ignored a jewelry box full of diamonds and picked up that which had become so incredibly valuable—three small oranges! She carried her “prized possession” back to the lifeboat and on to safety.
Remarkable, isn’t it? Hours earlier she would’ve preferred just one diamond to a whole boatload of oranges. Now, diamonds meant nothing. You see, when Death comes near, all the price tags are changed. Unfortunately, that’s when many learn, for the first time, what really matters.