Grace to you!
Wealth, money, the dollar - this is one key driving force of activities in our society. Due to the decisive role it plays, it has become a new form of “idol” in the hearts of many; causing unnecessary anxiety, on the one hand; or leading to the worst of business ethics or greed, which the prophesy of Amos (8:4-7) decried, on the other.
The stories we hear of corruption and fraud are all attributed to the alluring power of money. But money itself is a harmless, lifeless object, meant to provide the means of joy and fulfillment of needs. The problem we have is not with money, but the unwise use of or search for it. Scripture says; “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Evil lies in the love of money, not in the ownership of it.
In the gospel of Luke 16:1-13, Jesus shows us the real value and place of wealth/money. Wealth is a treasure given to us on trust. We are members of the board of trustees of the divine gift of wealth. As trustees, there are certain principles that should guide our exercise of this gift.
One is to know the nature of wealth. The nature of wealth is that it’s a means to relationships; to provide for our material needs. It is just a means and not an end.
Two is to know the proper use of wealth. Since our lives and possessions are God’s, our primary service should be to God and not to our wealth or anything else. Christians cannot serve two masters. Our use of wealth should, therefore, be determined by our service to God and relationships with our fellow human beings. Money is, therefore, one of the means to enhance these relationships.
Let us look at some biblical instances of how people have used money to build relationships, thereby winning divine favor. I would also show the foolishness of undue attachment to wealth. We begin with the story of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21).
The rich fool had a large harvest and thought of using it only for his selfish satisfaction. God didn’t allow him to enjoy it.
On a more positive note, we have the story of Dorcas, Tabitha (Acts 9:36-42). She used her wealth to help the widows and the poor around her. God raised her from death, a symbolic gesture of the everlasting life, which the righteous will inherit. James 2:27 explains that pure religion, in the eyes of God, is that “we look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ourselves uncorrupted by worldly values.”
The value of money is in the use, not in the possession of it. We, therefore, have to ask ourselves:
Of what value is my money when my neighbor is dying of hunger and I do not offer any help? Of what value is my money if I can’t use it to have the good things of life and have others share in my joy? What is my contribution to the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the homeless in my neighborhood, etc.?
What talent or ability do I possess that would mean a great deal to society, to our country, to the Church or to someone in need?
It’s wonderful to look for opportunities to share what we have with others. “Blessed is the hand that gives than the hand that takes.”
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.