The recent financial news in this country brings to mind these Proverbs, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (Pr 23:4-5). Have you ever had a financial planner tell you that your wealth may sprout wings and fly away?
OK, maybe that is covered in the disclaimer about risk. But seriously, putting our trust in our money not only places an idol in God’s rightful place in our hearts, but it also is labeled as foolish throughout the Proverbs. While it may not be our conscious motive, many of us plan our finances such that if God goes out of business, we still have some financial security to fall back on. Our goal should be just the opposite. We need to plan wisely as demonstrated by the ant example in the Proverbs, but our security should be such that if God goes out of business, we’re through.
One of my favorite games as a kid, especially on long summer days, was the Parker Brothers game of Monopoly. Do you remember the game? The goal was to pile up cash through rent from the properties and houses that one accumulated during the game. It created a real feeling of power while I was winning. In fact, the feeling was so good that I didn’t want the game to end. Once the game was clearly in hand, I would give my brother and sister IOUs just to prolong the game. Why? Because when the game ended, the cash was place back in the box, the board was folded up, and the feeling of power was gone.
One day God is going to fold up the Monopoly board. Life in the material world will end. The cash we’ve piled up will be placed in the box. It’s useless where we are going. Did we spend our lives accumulating Monopoly money? Or did we invest in an eternal bank account that will come with us into the next life?
What do I mean by “come with us into the next life?” After all, isn’t the idea we can’t take it with us a common fact about death and money. Yes, we can’t take it with us, but did you know we can send it on ahead? Jesus said, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Lk 16:9). We will talk about how to “send it on ahead” next time.