Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church


The Root of All Evil

Posted on April 03, 2009 by Alexander
You can not serve God and Mammon

You can not serve God and Mammon

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

The main character of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon had briefly considered God and religion, but assumes that he can go to heaven by his own merit.  He not only dismisses Christ, he decides not to commit suicide.  Instead he dreams about becoming rich and powerful.  A dream that he only contemplates, but one that Pink Floyd as a band succeeded in doing. So when they wrote their song, “Money,” they were living this dream.

Solomon also had money.  He was the richest man alive in his day.  He knew what money could buy and what it could not buy.  In chapter 4 of Ecclesiastes Solomon asks what good is it to labor for riches when one is all alone and has no one to share it with?   Money brings worry and anxiety over its management (5:12).   And  if one gathers riches and manages it wisely, who knows how that wealth will be used after one dies (6:12)?  For naked we are born and naked we die, we can not take it with us.  But the bottom line that Solomon addresses is that greed and covetousness is never satisfied. It always wants more.

In other verses he does speak of the value of money.  Money is a defense (7:12). So as a tool, money has a purpose and place.   But money can never satisfy the longing of the heart.  Neither will money bring true joy, instead it tends to breed envy and strife (4:4).

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5

10    He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.  This also is vanity.

11    When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?

12    The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,  Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

13    There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:  Riches kept for their owner to his hurt.

14    But those riches perish through misfortune;  When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.

15    As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return,  To go as he came;  And he shall take nothing from his labor  Which he may carry away in his hand.

16    And this also is a severe evil— Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?

17    All his days he also eats in darkness, And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.

Chapter 6

1  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:

2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.

3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he—

4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness.

5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man,

6  even if he lives a thousand years twice—but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?

7    All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied.

7. Money
(Waters) 6:32

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team.

Money, get back.
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re
giving none away.

“HuHuh! I was in the right!”
“Yes, absolutely in the right!”
“I certainly was in the right!”
“You was definitely in the right. That geezer was cruising for a
bruising!”
“Yeah!”
“Why does anyone do anything?”
“I don’t know, I was really drunk at the time!”
“I was just telling him, he couldn’t get into number 2. He was asking why he wasn’t coming up on freely, after I was yelling and screaming and telling him why he wasn’t coming up on freely.
It came as a heavy blow, but we sorted the matter out”

The dialog at the end of the song is hard to hear, but it shows the end result of wanting money: conflicts with others and ultimately war, which is the topic of the next song.

The Church of Jesus Christ misunderstands Kingdom Economics.  There is a bottom line for the Church that we tend to forget.  When Peter told those who collected tribute money, Jesus asked Peter later who pays tribute?  The children of the king or strangers (Matt 17:25)?  Peter answered correctly that the strangers pay tribute. Jesus then emphasized that the children are free (17:26).   The reason that the children are free is because all that belongs to the king belongs to the children, too.  It would be taking money out of the king’s own pocket to tax his own children.  This is the bottom line in Kingdom Economics.  Since God owns everything, and we in the Church are His children, everything belongs to us already.

That means that we will always be taken care of.  It does not mean that we have access to all that God owns,  since He manages our provision.  But He has promised to take care of us if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His rightesouness (Matt. 6:33).   There may be seasons where are provision is food from raven’s mouths. But the bottom line is that we will be cared for and we need not worry about it.

Regrettably, the Church at large does not comprehend this basic provision of God, and have sought wealth according to the world’s standard. The followers of the prosperity preachers will find their wealth consumed by others if they are trying to serve God and Mammon.  And, like the world, they will be caught up in strife and warfare.

Saints, the gospel is not about poverty, either.  It is about learning to live in contentment whether one is abased or abounds.  This contentment comes from  the security of knowlege that God is caring for each of us and is accomplishing His purposes in our lives. The love of money robs us of peace and contentment.  The peace of God that passes all understanding is found in trusting God and resting in His provision. For godliness with contentment is great gain and this is achieved by esteeming the riches of Christ greater than the riches of the world.

2 to “The Root of All Evil”

  1. Doug S. says:

    Alex:

    Great post! I believe that many church institutions are beginning to feel the effects of their greed in these bleak economic times. It will only get worse. I tried to warn some of them before about going into debt, but they were as irresponsible as most teenagers when it comes to money. Their eyes were on the material things of this world as opposed to keeping their gazed fixed on Jesus Christ.
    Sadly, once the crisis passes, they will have learned little and will go back to their money loving ways.

  2. Editor says:

    Thanks Doug. I do not want to bash the Church, although that may happen unintentionally. One reason that I embarked on this series is because Pink Floyd and Solomon are describing the world system in detail. The problem of institutional Christianity is that the world system is enmeshed into their system as well. As long sheep think they can fleece other sheep, they will be sustaining the world system in the church.



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