” And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?”
I don’t know if I ever fully appreciated how applicable these verses were to us and our day. Truly, the love of money is the canker on the souls of so many. The desire for status and prestige is pandemic. And that is true even within the Church. We live in a culture where having the New and hottest thing is everything. We would rather be wealthy on earth than wealthy eternally. We would rather serve mammon than God.
But the praise of the world is of little value. It leads to endless misery. It leads to guilt and regret. If we focus our hearts on those things, then we are denying ourselves the opportunity to truly serve and do good to others.
Yesterday, I saw a production of The Christmas Carol. That story teaches powerfully that the love of money is a destructive force that eats away at our soul. Instead, we must realize that we are on this earth not for ourselves but to serve and help others. We are here to be disciples of Christ.