I recently came across the inspiring story of a man called Bill Borden. Bill was brought up in a very wealthy, aristocratic family. There was plenty of money in this family. His father actually made a fortune in real estate in Chicago and silver Mining in Colorado, and this was back in 1908 a long time now. But Bill was worth $1 million which in today’s standards around about $40 million.
He was a young man. He had everything – good education and was on his way to making a personal fortune. But something very dramatic happened in his life. He went to church one day and heard the preacher, Dwight L Moody, and he gave his life to Jesus Christ and became a practicing Christian. And that wasn’t the only thing because his whole life changed. And there he was, at age 25 doing the unthinkable.
Yes, he actually gave away his entire fortune. He gave half his money to the church and the other half to overseas, church missions. And this made headlines throughout America at the time his friends at Uni thought he’d gone mad. And but he felt very sincerely that God had called him to be a missionary. And so one year later, at 26 he left to work as a missionary in Egypt and in the remote part of China.
Tragically, this young man died that same year at age 26 of spinal meningitis. Terrible situation. His family were deeply shocked, but at his funeral someone found his Bible, and they handed back to his mother and father, the Bible that had a note inside that he’d written. He’d written three things, he said no reserves, no retreat and no regrets. He had no reserves about what he was doing. He wasn’t going to stop. And he had no regrets.
An amazing story, an inspiring story because it made me think that there are times, you know when following God’s way. Whatever it is for you and me is more valuable than money or amassing a huge fortune. Because, really and frankly, money is not everything. In spite of what many people think, many of us hold money. Unfortunately, in high regard, some might even worship and covet it, but money can’t buy happiness. Yes, it’s indispensable for allowing you and me and those we love to lead a healthy life. Yes, there’s a lot more in this topic. What were you taught about? Money as you grew up yourself. Something like money doesn’t grow on trees. Money is the root of all evil or even this one. All rich people are greedy.
Well, back in May 1981 the Psychology Today magazine did a study about the influence of money on the lives of people. And it actually showed that people who are money conscious don’t have a satisfactory relationship with other people. They tend to be worried and have anxious moments and are very lonely. Perhaps that’s why Henry Fielding said, “Make money, your God, and it will plague you like the devil.”
Money is something that’s with us every day. It’s saved, it’s spent, it’s scrounged, it’s squeezed. People will do anything for money, but it makes you think how better to find God. Our loving Heavenly Father. God is our solid rock instead of money, because God values you more than any amount of money. He loves you for eternity. Actually, when you die, your money is gone.
It’s time to see I think, what Jesus said about money. He spoke a lot about this. Actually, he realised how money can actually trip us up. He knew how distracting it could be, and Luke tells in his gospel Luke 12, that thousands of people crowded around Jesus One day. They were stepping on each other, and a man in the crowd said, “teacher listen, will you tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died” and Jesus answered, “who gave me the right to settle arguments among you and your brother?”
And then he said to the crowd, don’t be greedy. Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.
There it is. I’m reading from Luke 12:1,13-15 now, another version that you might be familiar with says beware, don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life, Jesus said, is not measured by how much we own. So it’s important teaching because so many people think that wealth equals success. But that’s really not what God’s word says – becoming a person that God wants you to be on the inside and achieving that goal. That’s what makes you successful.
Money or wealth really has nothing to do with it.
Well, be on your guard. Jesus said, be careful.
Thank you, dear Lord, for these wonderful words of wisdom. Help us to heed that warning about money. Amen.