Pursuing Money Is Idolatry
January 14, 2014
If a person wants to have grief, he need only indulge in idolatry. It does not need to be the worship of statues, for idolatry is the idolization of anything besides God. Idolization is the excessive love, reverence, admiration, willing servitude, pursuit, and/or desire for anything besides God. Those who have idols pursue them, and do so increasingly, until there is little or no room in their hearts, minds, and lives for the pursuit or desire of anything else. Intent on becoming one with their idol, this being their all-pervasive lust, idolators become incredibly self-focused individuals. Their satisfaction, and no one else’s, is their only real concern. The fact is, though, the idol will always fall short in bringing the idolator true and lasting satisfaction.
What is the number one idol sought throughout the world? Is it not money? For money is the (supposed) means by which to achieve any other idol. Prestige, pleasure, power, sex, luxury, etc. can almost always be bought with money. Therefore the ultimate –freedom with happiness– though indeed, false and fleeting, can usually be achieved, at least for a time, through money.
But is money really the path to the ultimate good life? God’s Word tells us that it is not, but that it instead brings grief. (1 Tim. 6:10) It tells us that godliness with contentment, rather than the pursuit of financial gain, is true and great gain. (v. 5-10) It tells us that if God brings prosperity to a person, it is so that they can share generously (Luke 6:38 // 2 Cor. 9:6-15), but that to engage in the love of money (–which is a root of all kinds of evil), is to bring harm and ruin to oneself. (1 Tim. 6:9,10) Moreover, God’s Word commands us to pursue righteousness (v. 11) and eternal life (v. 12) while actually fleeing the desire for money (v. 11), and to uphold this command without spot or blame. (v. 14)
Jesus did not give the warning in Luke 16:13 for any small reason. He stated, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Even so, people try to do so all the time! But it won’t work. It’s an impossibility. For God, who must be loved whole-heartedly (Mark 12:30), and who is perfectly and supremely good, is a jealous God (Ex. 34:14), and just as any spouse should, He demands complete faithfulness. (Mt. 24:10-13,48-51 & 25:14-30)
Eagerly seeking ways to attain money is dangerous to one’s soul, for it very quickly turns into idolatry. To participate in idolatry is to be an idolator, and such a person has rejected the only God who saves.
Why then should anyone pursue wealth and trust in that which is so uncertain and which separates us from God, His ways, and His help? Let us instead heed Pr. 23:4,5: “Do not overwork to acquire wealth, but have the wisdom to show restraint. When your eyes behold it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying off to the sky like an eagle.”
Therefore, as 1 John 5:21 says, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” And this command does include keeping ourselves from the idolization of money.