Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or abandon you.’ Therefore, we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Our thought for today: “Hold it loosely”
We’re fast approaching the Christmas season and one of the movies that will play frequently on television will be “A Christmas Carol”. It was written in 1843 by Charles Dickens as a short story. It is essentially a Christmas ghost story and it tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who has made a lot of money in business but who horded it his entire life. He denies himself many comforts and pleasures in order to save money; he shares nothing with anyone; and he pays his kind and faithful employee Bob Cratchit only a pittance.
In a dream on Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of his former partner Bob Marley, and by the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Through it all Scrooge’s heart melts, he changes his ways, and he discovers the joy of giving as opposed to hording.
Scrooge’s problem wasn’t that he had a lot of money. The problem also wasn’t that he put an extraordinary amount of effort into earning money, or that he was diligent about saving what he earned. The problem was that he has in love with his money – he hoarded it. Scrooge did nothing good with the money he earned. Not only did he not use any of it to bless others, but he was cold, hard, mean-spirited, and indifferent to the suffering and struggles of others – most especially to that of his employee Bob Cratchit and Bob’s disabled son Tiny Tim.
In Hebrews 13:5-6 the writer urges us to keep our lives free from the love of money. He immediately follows that by telling us to learn to be satisfied and content with what we have, and to rely on the love and provision of God, who will never leave us and never forsake us. It’s all one continuous line of thinking – love God not money; be satisfied; trust in Him.
This is consistent with what Solomon teaches in the Proverbs, and with what Jesus teaches in the Gospels, and with what Paul writes about in his letters. We are to work hard to earn our money; we are to be good stewards of it once we have it; and we are to joyfully use it to help finance God’s kingdom-building work on earth and to be a blessing to others – especially to those in need.
Money is not the problem. Loving money is the problem. We are to use it not horde it. Men and women of character and integrity know how to use their money in ways that honors God and blesses others.