John Piper gave chapter 7 of his book Desiring God the title of “Money: The Currency of Christian Hedonism”. In it, he shares the following illustration:
Suppose someone passes empty-handed through the turnstiles at a big city art museum and begins to take the pictures off the wall and carry them importantly under his arm.
You come up to him and say, "What are you doing?" He answers, "I'm becoming an art collector." "But they're not really yours," you say, "and besides they won't let you out with those. You'll have to go out just like you came in."
But he answers again, "Sure they're mine. I've got them under my arm. People look at me as an important dealer in the halls. And I don't bother myself with thoughts about leaving. Don't be a kill joy."
We would call this man a fool - out of touch with reality. So is the person who spends himself to get rich in this life. We will go out just the way we came in.
What a beautiful illustration of the dangers of living a life consumed with material things. Piper correctly reminds us here of the truth that was so eloquently spoken by the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protégé in the ministry.
After warning Timothy about false teachers “who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” in the opening verses of I Timothy, chapter 6, he then tells him in verses 6-11:
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Paul’s admonition here is not just for young pastors. It is for all believers. And it is especially relevant to us Christians who live here in what the American pop band known as the Monkees once famously called “Status Symbol Land”.
Beware the fallacy of assuming that one’s life is best lived in conspicuous consumption. We were made for more than such a shallow life – much more. We were made to glorify God in all we are and with all we are temporarily entrusted to steward! May we always approach everything this world has to offer with that fundamental truth in mind!
STORY: John Piper, “Money: The Currency of Christian Hedonism”, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Press, 2003), pp. 185 ff.
SEE ALSO: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/monkees/pleasantvalleysunday.html.