"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
-- 1 Timothy 6: 10
People, over the centuries, have worshipped numerous gods. God recognized this in the first commandment. Exodus 20: 3 "You shall have no other gods before Me," (notice "gods is not capitalized). In the Old Testament, pagans worshipped Chemosh, Baal, Dagon and others.
We have, in what may be perceived as arrogance, designated these as false gods and judged the practitioners to eternal hell. Some of today's Christians often deride people of other religions for worshipping Buddha, Zeus, Athena, Shiva, Damballah or Allah. Where many believe there is only one true God, the Creator God of the Bible to Christians, many people adhering to the other religions and gods regard their god as the creator. To them, their god is the one true god.
People of all religions seem to believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. Everyone cannot be right! The God of the Bible has shown His omniscience (all knowing) in that the Bible proves itself from within itself.
There is no other religious writing that has so accurately foretold world events as has the Bible. The Bible embraces a plethora of subjects and time has proven all areas to be accurate.
In our harassment of other gods, we bemuse ourselves. In our dire attempts to justify ourselves, we fall blinded to the obvious. While we mock others for worshipping nature, humanity, or some contrived product of one's imagination, we fail to recognize our personal objects of worship.
In recent surveys, Americans have been asked, "What is your greatest concern in America today?" In several studies and surveys the number one answer was "the economy." It was not nuclear war, diseases, healthcare, national defense or even the severe polarization existing between political parties, races, religions or socio-economic groups. The greatest concern named was the economy. People are more concerned about money than death, hell or terrorism.
So, here is the question for the day, "What do we worship?" By our actions and priorities, we reveal the clear answer as money. If we have it, we try to hang on to it. If we do not have it, we try to figure out how to get it. We have even assigned a deity status to money by at times, defining U.S. currency as the "almighty dollar."
In our denigration of the objects of worship of other religions, we blind ourselves of the focal point of many of us, money! In our pursuit of greatness, power and prestige, it all comes down to the accumulation of that god of this world, money! The purpose of education in America is to prepare us to succeed in the world and many focus on preparing for a career that ultimately results in the accumulation of that god of this world, money. We even measure success in terms of money.
The great reward in the world today is the collection of as many dollars, euros, francs, yuans, or pounds as possible. The ultimate winner in the world's thinking is he who dies with the largest portfolio and bank account.
Numerous TV networks, magazines and books focus on the preservation or accumulation of wealth. Our topics of conversation once focused on weather or sports. Now in many groups the topics of conversation steer toward 401Ks, portfolios, CD rates, and the stock market.
For us to claim we do not worship money is a straight out, obvious lie. Matthew 6: 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
In the movie "Wall Street," 1987, Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko, in addressing a group of stockholders, said, "Greed is good, it is a motivational force that drives us to greatness." Within the pursuit of financial independence and security, have we doomed ourselves into a state of paganism?
Without the personal goals of innovative and motivated people, would we still be living in trees and caves and eating grubs and tree bark? Humankind lived in those conditions for thousands of years before money was invented. Are we really better off now than then? Historians believe money of some type was first used to take the place of a barter system, possibly as far back as 5000 years ago. The accumulation of wealth has been greatly accelerated over the last few years. Previously, people simply tried to survive.
Ours has become a "show me the money," society. America's debt is now over twenty-two trillion dollars, with financial obligations (pensions, entitlements, etc.) pushing that to over 100 trillion. What a joke! Any politician promoting ways and means to pay off the debt is perpetuating a lie. It will never be neutralized without a total crash and restructuring of the monetary system.
I was in Brazil in 1990. The Brazilian currency was the cruzado. The Bureau de Change exchanged sixty-five cruzados per one U.S. dollar. I went back in 1992 and the rate was 1200 cruzados per dollar. That gives "inflation" a completely new meaning. Finally, the government purged the cruzado and initiated the real (ree-al) as the unit of currency.
Coins were being thrown into the streets because they were worthless. People carried money to the food markets in buckets because the currency was mostly worthless. People on the streets were attempting to buy my U.S. currency because theirs was not holding its value more than a few days. Ten thousand cruzado notes were common. A one hundred cruzado note was worth about three-tenths cents (U.S.).
A big part of the problem was government interference; another contributing factor was easy credit. People were spending money they would not earn for thirty years. Sound familiar? Proverbs 22: 7 "The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender."
What does all this verbiage convey to the Christian? Sorry, but I do not have any definitive answers other than, keep things in perspective. Money provides a sense of security more than material possessions and is necessary for survival in today's world. However, that sense of security may be a false hope considering how fragile the world's economy has become.
We should certainly encourage our children to be frugal and spend their earnings with discretion. Money, however, is not forever; God is! Money is what it is! God is what He is! Let us continually recognize this fact and not confuse our focus of worship and establish gods for ourselves that do not have or hold any value.