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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Life on the Margins: Greed

But woe to you who are rich,

for you have received your consolation.

(Jesus said) “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ ~ Luke 16:19-26

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. ~ I Timothy 6:10

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.~ Gandhi

KIRBY: A man can't give up his business.

GRANDPA: Why not? You've got all the money you need. You can't take it with you.” ~ George S. Kaufman, You Can't Take it With You

I'm sure you have heard of Howard Hughes. the eccentric, reclusive billionaire who died after years of being a hermit, suffering from drug abuse and mental health issues. Famously during his last years alive he did not cut his hair or nails, or even open the curtains of the penthouse where he lived. When he died, he weighed 90 pounds and was unrecognizable to those who knew him.

Howard Hughes lived in hell.

How else would you explain that existence? For all the money he had, Hughes' last years on earth were heart-breaking. Married, he chose to live alone and did not even see his wife for years before she finally divorced him.

What good did all that money do him?

We tend to misquote this line from the letter to Timothy, believing that "money is the root of all evil."

But it is the love of money, not money itself. It is loving money more than loving people. It is using money to separate ourselves from others: family, friends, those in our lives who are truth-tellers,...

As well as loving money more than those who could use some of the money we have in excess: money that could be put to better use than sitting in a bank or a stock portfolio.

Money isn't really a very good companion. And it tends to be the thing that separates someone from the people in their lives who can turn a hellish existence into a heavenly one of generosity, grace, and gratitude.

Questions for thought: Have you known anyone (or of anyone) whose life was made worse by having too much money? Has their been a time in your life where you felt yourself focused more on earning money than on the relationships in your life? How did that feel at the time?

Pray: Ask God to open the hearts of all who put wealth before people.

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