“Give me an eagerness for your laws
rather than a love for money!
Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.”
Psalms 119:36-37 NLT
Aah! The love of money. It is only a matter of time before it emerges from the dark recesses within a person’s heart. I suppose there is a spectrum, from the money-dominated Scrooge, gloating over his piles of cash, through to a money-denying monk living a life of austerity in a bare cell. But we are all on that spectrum somewhere. Money has its uses of course – it lubricates the wheels of life in our secular and materialistic societies, and we need it to survive – but it can dominate our thinking. If we let it.
The Psalmist sees the danger of a life with a pecuniary focus. He sees the importance of dwelling in a place of eternal currency rather than in a world populated by “worthless things“. It is interesting that the Revelation picture of the new Jerusalem includes so many precious jewels, pearls and gold. What is considered of value in today’s world will be considered building materials in the world to come. Ubiquitous items of little value when compared to our Almighty God.
But for the pilgrim working his way through this life, what is the correct balance between money and God? Jesus could see the dangers of getting this wrong, and taught that the service of both at the same time was impossible. He said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The key is in the use of the word He used to describe how we see and use money – “enslaved”. The Psalmist was trying to get to a place of the correct balance, where money would be used but not worshipped. A place where the value of money would be eclipsed by our great and glorious God and His Word.
The pilgrim of course needs money to make his way through this life. But he must not succumb to the temptation to acquire more and more glittering temporal objects, call it “stuff” if you like, at the expense of the eternal jewels in God’s Word. The one will be left behind when we pass the Great Divide. The other will be waiting for us on the other side. Let us join the Psalmist in declaring our eagerness to mine those precious jewels and nuggets from His Word so that we can accumulate them in our hearts and lives. A last word today from Jesus. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”