Bible Truth Restored

Bible Truth Restored

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.           1 Peter 4:11

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RICHES - GOOD OR EVIL?
Riches are a natural quest of man, and always have been. Most of us would be only too pleased to have riches to be able to do and buy more with them. All through the ages, men have pursued wealth like a will-o-the wisp. For it they fight, gamble, cheat, murder, and sometimes, even work. They will sacrifice honour to get it; they will fall out with their best friends over it; they will commit suicide if it is denied them. Truly indeed the apostle has written:
                       
“Those who want to be rich fall into temptations and snares and many foolish, harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and perdition. The love of money is the root of all evil things, and there are some who in reaching for it have wandered from the faith and spiked themselves on many thorny grieves” 1 Tim. 6:9-10.
                      
Not many want money for its own sake, however. Only a miser takes delight in heaping up money on the table and running his hands through it for the sheer delight of having it. No, what most of us would like lots of money for is because of what it can do for us. It represents power, prestige, security, ease and independence. And it is for these things it is coveted by so many. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,” the proverb tells us (10:15); giving him a sense of safety, and the opportunity to indulge himself behind its defences.
                       
We may prefer to despise money, while still coveting the things that money can do, and give. Not many of us would forego the chance to be wealthy, if it came our way. Yet in Scripture riches are always represented as a hindrance to righteousness, because wealth can so easily distract men from the service of God. Jesus called it “mammon,” saying, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” All too easily we may set up this false god in our hearts and let it take His place in our lives. This is the equivalent of idolatry, for Paul tells us that covetousness is idolatry (Eph. 5:5). Nor is this form of idolatry confined to the rich. In fact, it may be as much a temptation to the have-nots as to the haves, or even more so. For it is possible that those who do not possess much money may be all the more anxious to get it, and so fall into sin.

So, again, “He that tries to be rich has an evil eye” (Prov. 28:22). Perhaps Jesus had this wise saying in mind when he himself spoke about “an evil eye” in the same context: “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where it grows rusty and moth-eaten, and thieves break in to steal it. Store up treasure in heaven...” he says (Matt. 6:19), and then goes on to speak of the lamp of the body being the eye, and if you have an “evil eye” your whole body will be full of darkness.
                       
Perhaps Jesus is trying to warn us that the love of money has a habit of taking over, and if indulged, may end up by affecting everything we do. The wise man suggests that the happiest state is between the two extremes of poverty and riches, and asks God to spare him from both (30:8), because “if I have too much I shall deny Thee and say: “Who is the Lord?” If I am reduced to poverty, I shall steal and blacken the name of my God.” Most of us will see the sense in that.

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