I was talking to a local businessman who works in the retail sector. He voiced his concerns about the way Irish people regard money at the moment. He sees people racking up holidays, homes, cars and luxury items and he wonders where they are getting the money. In business he increasingly comes across those whose credit cards are being declined when they go to purchase.
We live at a time where banks, manufacturers and advertisers couldn’t care less about the people their products are aimed at. We used to be customers, now we are simply consumers. They tailor their products, not to meet our needs, but to feed our greed. So we buy items with money we don’t have, to do something we don’t need, only to find a newer and better model released next week.
Money is a cruel master. It so easily enslaves those who get a taste for it and for what it brings. Money enslaves us by making us work harder, work longer and work when we should be with our family. It makes us envy those who have what we haven’t. And we won’t be satisfied until we get it, and when we get it we’ll find that it doesn’t satisfy.
The problem is that money is a substitute – our hearts are wired to seek something that will fulfil us and our needs and desires. Money looks like a likely candidate but it can’t take the strain. It will ultimately disappoint. And when it has sucked you dry it will spit you out, either broke, or dissatisfied with all your toys.
When we try to fill a God-shaped hole in our souls with a thing-shaped object there will always be gaps where dissatisfaction seeps through.
Our hearts are wired for something bigger than money; not so much some thing as some one. God is the only master who won’t disappoint, chew up and spit out. He is the only master who doesn’t say “give, give” but instead says, “I will lay down my life for you”. On the cross God says “I’ll pay, I’ll bring you into happiness – don’t go running after it, let me bring it to you: eternal happiness that no-one can take away, that won’t devalue, deteriorate or be superseded.”
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” – Matthew 6:19-20