When Money Talks We Buy The Message

Source: nerdax.com

“Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil”

(Henry Fielding)


Contrary to what many of us have been led to believe, money is not the root of all evil.   It is the insatiable love for money which is the real evil.   We live in a very materialistic society and we all of us, in some way or another, dance to the tune of the almighty dollar.

According to today’s media and glossy magazines, we want it all:  bigger houses, better cars, designer clothes, latest electronic devices, etc.   It’s never enough.   The more we have, the more we want.   The more we earn, the more we spend in order to accumulate even more.   Every aspect of our lives is subliminally affected by greed.

Several years ago, there was an email, which came regularly into my in-box entitled ‘The Paradox of Our Time’ allegedly penned by the American comedian, George Carling.   On delving into the archives, however, I found a vehement and colourful denial made by him.   Who actually wrote it is not important but the content was interesting.

To quote just a few examples, the author wrote: “We have bigger houses, and smaller families; we have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we’ve learned how to make a living but not a life; we have …higher incomes, but lower morals, we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality…”  It appears materialism has become the only real basis for our value system.

Maybe we want to be rich or richer because that’s what we think will make us happy.   We fail to realize that although we do not have all we want; we do have everything we need.   As Ghandi so wisely observed many years ago: “There is enough in the world to meet everyone’s need but not enough to meet everyone’s greed.”

Greed, to a certain degree, is part of everyone’s make-up, whether we are well-off or struggling, whether we opt for a simple life or whether we pursue the almighty dollar.   When wealth is accumulated for the purpose of accumulating more wealth, surely there must come a point when we have to ask the question – ‘how much is enough?’   When nothing is ever enough, then greed has taken over.

Why are we so greedy?   Obviously, possessions and creature comforts bring us pleasure.   But then too many possessions can cause problems.   Timothy has some very strong words to say to us about greed and the desire to be rich.   He says what makes a person truly rich is “if he is satisfied with what he has.   What did we bring into the world?   Nothing!   What can we take out of the world?   Nothing!   So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us.   But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6: 6-9).

I wonder sometimes if everyone were rich would that solve all the world’s problems.   Would global prosperity prevent wars, racism, terrorism, violence, oppression and, of course, poverty?   However, as always, there is a flaw to the utopian dream.   And the flaw is our human nature.   Unfortunately, there is a collective, but covert, aversion to seeing others getting ahead of us.   We have become trapped in an endless cycle to ‘keep up with the Jones’s.’

Mark Twain said that all men worshipped rank, some worshipped heroes, some worshipped power, some worshipped God and over all these ideals they disputed, but they all worshipped money!   Nothing has changed much, has it?

It does seem paradoxical that despite the higher incomes, better quality food, more white goods, more overseas trips, bigger houses and better health care, etc. we are still apparently no happier than people were back in the 1950’s.

People say they know money can’t buy happiness but not too many want to believe that.   That’s because deep down although they realize happiness equates better with having satisfaction and meaning in their lives, they still opt to pursue materialism.   The old adage that it’s money that makes the world go round must be the saddest reality of life!

It is interesting to note that in the Gospels, Jesus has more to say about money than any other subject.   For instance, in the Sermon on the Mount he warns us that where our treasure is that’s where our hearts will be also.   His message is clear.   We came into this world with nothing and will leave it the same way!

In the meantime, as Christians, we have a responsibility to live by the advice Jesus offers us: “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be.”   (Luke 12: 15)

Peggy Spencer is an active member of her parish church, St. John the Baptist, in Fern Tree Gully near Melbourne, Australia. Though not a "professional" writer, Peggy has always loved writing.

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 03:53h, 26 April Reply

    Peggy your story today really brings home the reality of what life is supposed to be all about.And that is” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. Put it into true perspective I have a house ,I have a car,I have enough clothes, I have enough food, I have many friends to share my life with.I”am also able to give generously to the less fortunate, So enough is enough, once we have learned how to use it. And this is the message of Jesus for each of us to ponder. we come into this world with nothing, we will take nothing with us when we depart from it.So lets JUST relish the thought.” CARE AND SHARE”.

  • suzanne renaud
    Posted at 15:51h, 26 April Reply

    Thank you Peggy for this reflection. Lately, I have come across several articles and books regarding climate change and capitalism and how one affects the other. Materialism is not only destroying our planet, but the poor are so much poorer and suffering. Pope Francis’s Laudato Si really helps us to assess how we are not only treating our Mother Earth, but, also our brothers and sisters. Your thoughts and words helped to capsulize, for me, our global state of affairs; and, to nudge me, into rethinking how I can make changes in my lifestyle.

  • Mike Hyland
    Posted at 17:40h, 26 April Reply

    A good reminder to regularly take a honest look at our priorities … and money is not one of them.
    Thanks Peggy.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 17:51h, 26 April Reply

    Thank you Peggy!

  • charles Pottie -Paté
    Posted at 09:27h, 28 April Reply

    Thank you Peggy for this clear and accessible reflection on “greed”. It would be useful and helpful, I think, to read this for a Sunday reflection in a parish….. we all have a little greed desire in us.
    And Jesus’ words are an antidote to it…..

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