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     The Dark Side of Money

 

All the passages below are taken from Richard Foster’s book “Money, Sex and Power,” published in 1985.

 

Money has demonically usurped the role in modern society which the Holy Spirit is to have in the Church.

- Thomas Merton

 

Martin Luther astutely observed, 'There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, mind, and the purse.’1 Of these three, it may well be that we moderns find the conversion of the purse the most difficult. It is hard for us even to talk about money. In fact, I recently heard of a couple, both psychologists, who would speak openly and frankly in front of their children about sex, death, and all manner of difficult subjects, but would go into the bedroom and close the door when they wanted to talk about money. In a survey of psychotherapists in which they listed things they should not do with their patients, it was found that lending a client money was a greater taboo than touching, kissing, or even sexual intercourse. For us, money is indeed a forbidden subject.

And yet Jesus spoke about money more frequently than any other subject except the kingdom of God. He gave an unusual amount of time and energy to the money question. In the moving story about the `widow's mite,' we are told that Jesus intentionally sat in front of the treasury and watched people putting in their offerings (Mark 12:41 NRSV). By design, he saw what they gave and discerned the spirit in which they gave. For Jesus, giving was not a private matter. He did not---as we so often do today---glance away embarrassed at prying into someone's personal business. No, Jesus considered it public business and used the occasion to teach about sacrificial giving.

Jesus' careful attention to the money question is one of the truly amazing things about the Gospel narratives. The range of his concern is startling: from the parable of the sower to the parable of the rich farmer, from the encounter with the rich young ruler to the encounter with Zacchaeus, from teachings on trust in Matthew 6 to teachings on the dangers of wealth in Luke 6.

 

TWO STREAMS

In my book Freedom of Simplicity I went into detail about the biblical perspective on money in both Old and New Testaments; I will not retrace my steps here. [Note especially chapters 2 and 3. In that book I was dealing with the issue of Christian simplicity, which is a larger question than money, but you will find most of Jesus' teaching regarding money there. Also, I devote chapter 6 of Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978) to that question]. We do, however, need to be aware of the two major streams of teaching regarding money that we find in the New Testament and, indeed, throughout the Bible.

These two divergent streams of teaching are certainly paradoxical, and sometimes they seem downright contradictory. This should not surprise us. God so superintended the writing of the Scriptures that they accurately reflect the real world in which we live, and most of us are so well acquainted with paradox and perplexity in our own experience that we understand. Only the arrogant and the dogmatic find paradox hard to accept.

 

THE DARK SIDE

The first stream of teaching we find is what I have chosen to call the dark side of money. I am referring both to the way in which money can be a threat to our relationship with God and to the radical criticism of wealth that we find so much of in Jesus' words. The warnings and exhortations are repetitious, almost monotonous. `Woe to you that are rich' (Luke 6:24 NRSV). `You cannot serve God and mammon' (Luke 16:13 NRSV).'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth' (Matthew 6:19 NRSV). `It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 19:24 NRSV). `Take heed, and beware of all covetousness' (Luke 12:15 NRSV). `Sell your possessions, and give alms' (Luke 12:33 NRSV). `Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again' (Luke 6:30 NRSV). And, of course, many more statements could be added to this sample listing.

The point is that the teaching is very clear and very severe.

Right at this juncture we face a real temptation to tone down the criticism immediately, or at least to try to balance it with more positive biblical statements. But this is the very thing we must not do, at least not yet. First we are obliged to allow Scripture to speak to us on this issue. We must not take the sting out of the teaching too quickly. Before we try to explain why it cannot apply to our day, before we insert a dozen qualifications, before we try to interpret or explain or resolve the problem in any way, we simply need to hear the word of Scripture.

The truth is that it is not really difficult to discover what the Bible teaches about money. [I am well aware of the difficulties posed, for example, by the differing emphasis of Old and New Testament regarding money but those problems should not keep us from acknowledging the overall clarity of the biblical witness]. If we will simply read it through with honest hearts, we can come to a rather clear sense of the direction of Scripture on this subject. The Bible is much more clear and straightforward about money than it is about many other issues. Our difficulty is not in understanding the teaching; our problem lies in another direction. The most difficult thing we have to deal with when we begin to look at the dark side of money is fear. If we have any sense at all, these words of Jesus really do frighten us. They frighten me. And we will not be able to hear the Scripture on this issue until we come to terms with our fear.

There is good reason for fear. These statements of Jesus fly in the face of virtually everything we have been taught about what constitutes an abundant life. Their implications are staggering for us, for the Church, and for the wider world of economics and politics. They challenge our privileged status in the world and call us to vigorous sacrificial action. There is indeed good reason for fear.

But the reason for fear is yet more complicated. We may fear being without money because our parents were without money. We may fear failure. We may fear success. Our parents may have had anxieties about money that we have made our own. We may have fears that stem from watching the absurdities to which some people have taken the teachings of Jesus.

I do not want to make light of these fears of ours in any way. Many of them are completely justified, and all of them need to be dealt with. In due time, I will be discussing how we can come to terms with our fears. For now, it is enough to know that as the spirit of fear is replaced with the spirit of trust we will become more and more able to hear Jesus' radical criticism of wealth.

 

THE LIGHT SIDE

If we focused our attention exclusively on the warnings, we would have a distorted picture of the New Testament teaching. There is another stream of teaching that stresses what I have chosen to call the light side of money. I am referring to the way in which money can be used to enhance our relationship with God and bless humankind. A giving spirit can enhance the life of prayer and devotion. When Zacchaeus was freed to begin transferring his treasure from earth to heaven, Jesus joyfully announced, `Today salvation has come to this house' (Luke 19:9 NRSV). The anointings of Jesus were each extravagant and each praised (Matthew 26:6-12; Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-8 NRSV). The good Samaritan used money generously and drew close to the kingdom of God.

The teaching on the light side goes further still. At times there seems to be a carefree, almost nonchalant attitude toward wealth. Jesus allowed well-to-do women to support his ministry (Luke 8:1-3 NRSV). He ate with the rich and privileged (Luke 11:37; 14:1 NRSV). He joined in the lavish wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1 NRSV). The apostle Paul was as content with abounding as he was with being abased, as content with plenty as he was with hunger (Philippians 4:12 NRSV). And this, of course, is only a sample of the teaching.

How do we resolve the apparent conflict between the dark side and the light side? My attempt to do so will come later, in chapter 4. Besides, an instant resolution is probably not desirable, for it would keep us from hearing Jesus' teaching about the dark side of money.

 

PREVAILING DISTORTIONS

Our desire to resolve the problem quickly---and our consequent failure to hear the dark side---has brought about two prevailing distortions. The first is that money is a sign of God's blessing, and hence poverty is a sign of God's displeasure. This has been turned into a religion of personal peace and prosperity: crudely stated, `Love Jesus and get rich.' Many churches are saturated with readily available gimmicks for blessedness, all the way from exact mathematical formulas (God will bless you sevenfold) to much more subtle but equally destructive forms. The distortion, of course, rests upon a piece of important biblical teaching, namely, the great generosity of God. But it is a distortion because it turns one aspect of the Bible's teaching on money into the whole message. This distortion fails to hear money's dark side.

Even the disciples struggled with this distortion. Remember how astonished they were when Jesus declared that a camel could slip through the eye of a needle more easily than the wealthy could enter the kingdom of God. Their amazement was primarily due to their belief that the wealth of the rich young ruler was a sign of God's special favor upon him. No wonder they exclaimed, `Who then can be saved?' (Matthew 19:25 NRSV). Or think of Job's comforters---their firm conviction that he must have sinned stemmed from the obvious fact of his economic misfortune. Repeatedly Jesus opposed this false and destructive doctrine, showing instead that in the economy of God the poor, the bruised, the broken were special objects of his blessing and concern (Matthew 5:1-12 NRSV). He made it quite clear that wealth itself was no assurance of God's blessing (Luke 6:24 NRSV). [Donald Kraybill, in chapter seven of his book The Upside Down Kingdom (Scottdale, Penn.: Herald Press, 1978), discusses ten different attempts to evade Jesus' hard teachings on money. Nearly all ten stem from this fatal distortion of the biblical witness].

A second distortion about money is found in the prevailing view of stewardship today. Discussions of stewardship, almost without exception, view money as completely neutral and depersonalized. It is merely `a medium of exchange,' as we say God has given us money to use, to administer, to put into service, goes the teaching. And so the emphasis is always placed upon the best use, the proper stewardship, of the resources God has entrusted to us.

What all this talk about stewardship fails to see is that money is not just a neutral medium of exchange but a `power' with a life of its own. And very often it is a `power' that is demonic in character. As long as we think of money in impersonal terms alone, no moral problems exist aside from the proper use of it. But when we begin to take seriously the biblical perspective that money is animated and energized by `powers,' then our relationship to money is filled with moral consequence.

 

MONEY AS A POWER

The New Testament teaching on money makes sense only when we see it in the context of the `principalities and powers.' The good creation of God has both `visible' and `invisible' realities (Colosians 1:16). To describe certain aspects of the invisible realities the apostle Paul uses such terms as `principalities,' ‘powers’ 'thrones’ 'dominions,' and `authorities.' [See, e.g., Colossians 1:16; 2:15; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12; etc]. Originally part of God's good creation, these powers have, because of sin, lost their proper relationship to God. They have fallen and are in revolt against their creator. This is why the powers bring with them such mixed results---good and evil, blessing and cursing. This is why Paul can speak of the powers (exousia) as both the stabilizing forces in the Roman government (Romans 13:1 NRSV) and the demonic forces we are to wage war against (Ephesians 6:12 NRSV). The conviction was that in back of earthly rulers, social institutions, and many other things were invisible spiritual authorities and powers that were of an angelic or demonic nature.

Money is one of these powers. When Jesus uses the Aramaic term mammon to refer to wealth, he is giving it a personal and spiritual character. When he declares, `You cannot serve God and mammon' (Matthew 6:24 NRSV), he is personifying mammon as a rival god. In saying this, Jesus is making it unmistakably clear that money is not some impersonal medium of exchange. Money is not something that is morally neutral, a resource to be used in good or bad ways depending solely upon our attitude toward it. Mammon is a power that seeks to dominate us.

When the Bible refers to money as a power, it does not mean something vague or impersonal. Nor does it mean power in the sense we mean when we speak, for example, of `purchasing power.' No, according to Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament, behind money are very real spiritual forces that energize it and give it a life of its own. Hence, money is an active agent; it is a law unto itself, and it is capable of inspiring devotion.

It is the ability of money to inspire devotion that brings its dark side to the forefront. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has rightly said, `Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’2 What we must recognize is the seductive power of mammon. Money has power, spiritual power, to win our hearts. Behind our coins and dollar bills or whatever material form we choose to give to our money are spiritual forces.

It is the spiritual reality behind money that we want so badly to deny. For years I felt that Jesus was exaggerating by fixing such a huge gulf between mammon and God. Couldn't we show how advanced we are in the Christian life by giving each his due, God and mammon? Why not be joyful children of the world just as we are joyful children of God? Aren't the goods of the earth meant for our happiness? But the thing I failed to see, and the thing that Jesus saw so clearly, is the way in which mammon makes a bid for our hearts. Mammon asks for our allegiance in a way that sucks the milk of human kindness out of our very being.

That is why so much of Jesus' teaching regarding wealth is evangelistic in character. He calls people to turn away from the mammon god in order to worship the one true God. When a would-be disciple told Jesus of his determination to follow him anywhere he went, Jesus responded, `Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head' (Matthew 8:20 NRSV).

The rich young ruler asked Jesus how he could have eternal life and received the startling reply, `Go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me' (Matthew 19:21 NRSV). The instruction makes sense only when we see that the rich young ruler's wealth was a rival god seeking his complete devotion. And note that when this young man went away sorrowful Jesus did not run after him and suggest that he only meant it metaphorically, that all that was really required was a tithe. No, money had become an all-consuming idol, and it had to be rejected totally.

Jesus' lunch with Zacchaeus had a remarkable outcome. This chief tax collector, for whom money was everything, was so freed by the life and presence of Christ that he declared, `Half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold' (Luke 19:8 NRSV). But even more striking is Jesus' response, `Today salvation has come to this house' (Luke 19:9 NRSV).

Do you see what an utter contrast this is to the normal means of evangelism today? Our method is to get them `saved,' and then later on instruct them in `Christian stewardship.' For us, salvation usually consists in assenting to three or four statements and saying the prescribed prayer. But Jesus warns people to count the cost of discipleship before they ever enter into it. Not to do so would be as foolish as a construction company starting a skyscraper without calculating the expense, or a military dictator beginning a war without assessing his chances of winning (Luke 14:25-32 NRSV). Jesus concludes this sobering teaching with such disturbing words that we find it hard to believe he could possibly mean what he says: `So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple' (Luke 14:33 NRSV). I have yet to go to an evangelistic meeting and hear that kind of statement made before the invitation is given. But that is exactly what Jesus did, not just once but repeatedly.

For Christ money is an idolatry we must be converted from in order to be converted to him. The rejection of the god mammon is a necessary precondition to becoming a disciple of Jesus. And in point of fact, money has many of the characteristics of deity. It gives us security, can induce guilt, gives us freedom, gives us power and seems to be omnipresent. Most sinister of all, however, is its bid for omnipotence.

It is money's desire for omnipotence, for all power, that seems so strange, so out of place. It seems that money is not willing to rest contented in its proper place alongside other things we value. No, it must have supremacy. It must crowd out all else. This is, I say, the strange thing about money. We attach importance to it far beyond its worth. In fact, we attach ultimate importance to it. It is tremendously instructive to stand back and observe the frantic scramble of people for money. And this does not occur just among the poor and starving. Quite to the contrary---the super-wealthy, who have really nothing to gain by more money, still seek it furiously. The middle class, who are really quite adequately cared for (and who are from a global perspective the wealthy), continue to buy more houses than they need, to acquire more cars than they need, to have more clothes than they need. Many of us could live on half what we now receive without much serious sacrifice, yet we feel we are just barely making ends meet---and we feel this way whether we are earning $15,000 or $50,000 or $150,000.

Think of the symbols we attach to money---symbols that are unrelated to its true value: If money were only a medium of exchange, it would make no sense at all to attach prestige to it, for example. And yet we do. We value people in relation to their income; we give people status and honor in relation to how much money they have. We dare to ask that question of questions that always reveals far more about ourselves than about the other person, `How much is he (or she) worth?' Dr. Lee Salk, a professor of psychology at the New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, declared, `People jockey to find out what other people earn because, in our society, money is a symbol of strength, influence and power.’3

In this century we have witnessed some of the most massive efforts in history to break the power of money through political means, but they have all failed. Both China and Cuba, for example, got rid of money as a means of exchange and then made it impossible to save money, to build up capital. But in time these imperatives had to be abandoned, and first money as a means of exchange, then money as a means of savings, reappeared. Finally, cash production bonuses were reinstated. Now, I give this example, not as a criticism of communist regimes, but as an example of what Jacques Ellul calls `the incredible power of money, which survives every trial, every upset, as if a merchant mentality has so permeated the world's consciousness that there is no longer any possibility of going against it.’4

These strange facts make sense only as we come to understand the spiritual reality of money. Behind money are invisible spiritual powers, powers that are seductive and deceptive, powers that demand an all-embracing devotion. It is this fact that the apostle Paul saw when he observed that `the love of money is the root of all evils' (1 Timothy 6:10). Many have rightly observed that Paul did not say `money' but `the love of money.' Given the almost most universal love of money, however, they are often the same in practice.

Paul saw the same thing Jesus was dealing with in his many statements about money, namely, that it is a god that is out to gain our allegiance. By saying that the love of money is the root of all evils he does not mean in a literal sense that money produces all evils. He means that there is no kind of evil the person who loves money will not do to get it and hold onto it. All restraint is removed; the lover of money will do anything for it. And that is precisely its seductive character; for the person who loves money, no half measures will do. The person is hooked. Money becomes a consuming, life-dominating problem. It is a god demanding an all-inclusive allegiance.

This is why Jesus' cleansing of the temple was so pivotal. It was a deliberate act to symbolize that in the coming of the Messiah the religion of Israel was to be purged of its mammon worship. We must remember that the temple trade was good business in many ways. A valuable service was being provided, and although the prices were inflated, it was no more than what the market would bear. But Jesus saw through all that to the idolatry, the threat to the worship of the one true God.

As we come to understand better the dark side of money---its demonic tendency---we have a greater appreciation of Jesus' radical criticism of wealth. Without this insight it would be very easy for us to make Jesus' critical statements regarding money apply only to the dishonest rich. Certainly those who have obtained their money honestly and use it wisely are not included in his criticism---are they? But much of Jesus' teaching cannot be confined to the dishonest wealthy, for it speaks with equal severity to those who have acquired their wealth justly. There is every indication that the rich young ruler had gained his wealth honestly (Luke 18:18-30 NRSV). In the story of the rich man and Lazarus there is no hint of dishonesty related to the condemnation of the rich man (Luke 16:19-31 NRSV). In the parable of the rich farmer who tore down his barns to make way for expansion, we have every indication of honesty and industry (Luke 12:16-21 NRSV). We would call him prudent---Jesus called him a fool.

This radical criticism of wealth makes no sense to us at all unless we see it in the context of its spiritual reality. It is one of the principalities and powers that must be conquered and redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ before it can be usable for the greater good of the kingdom of God.

 

CONQUERING THE DARK SIDE

How is the god mammon conquered? Do we embrace it and try to use it for good purposes? Do we flee from it in total renunciation and divestiture?

Part of the reason these are difficult questions to answer is that the Bible does not offer us a Christian doctrine of money. It is a misuse and abuse of the Bible to make it yield some economic theory or give us ten rules for financial rectitude. But what it does offer us is even better: a perspective from which to view all life's economic decisions and a promise of dialogue, personal counseling in all life's financial decisions. The Holy Spirit is with us; Jesus is our present Teacher, and he will guide us through the money maze in all its personal and social complexity.

With that understanding, I would like to share several practical suggestions, knowing that they must be sifted through the filter of your own unique personality and circumstances. Perhaps they can serve in some way as signposts to encourage you in your journey.

First, let us get in touch with our feelings about money. For most of us the biggest obstacle to overcome is not that of understanding what the Bible teaches about money but that of coming to terms with our fear, insecurity, and guilt about money. We really are threatened by the subject of money. We are afraid that we have too little, and we are afraid that we have too much. And our fears are often irrational. For example, people who earn twenty times the average income of a citizen of Kenya are afraid of being on the brink of starvation. Or some of us are terrified of the possibility that others might overestimate our wealth and conclude that we are greedy.

These feelings are real and need to be taken seriously. Often they stem from childhood memories. I remember as a child having one ability that gave me unusual `wealth'; I could play marbles better than any other kid in the school. Since we always played for `keeps,' I could often wipe out another boy's fortune before the noon recess was over. On one occasion I remember taking a huge sack of marbles, throwing them one by one into a muddy drainage ditch, and watching with delight as the other boys scrambled to find them. Through that single experience I began to sense something of the power wealth can give and the manipulative ends to which it can be put.

Some of us grew up during the depression years and know firsthand the pervasive anxiety of scarcity. Because of that experience, a holding, hoarding spirit is almost instinctive in us, and the very idea of letting go of a possession is frightening. Others of us grew up in an era of affluence and are keenly aware of the spiritual dangers of too much; the notions of conserving and being frugal feel like vices rather than virtues. It is only as we come to terms with these and the many other feelings that have shaped our understanding of money that we can act upon the biblical call to faithfulness.

Second, by a conscious act of the will, let us stop denying our wealth. Let us look at the large picture. Rather than comparing ourselves to others like ourselves, so that we can always claim comparative poverty, let us become world citizens, looking at ourselves in relation to all humanity.

Those who own a car are among the world's upper class. Those who own a home are more wealthy than 95 percent of all the people on this planet. The very fact that you were able to purchase this book probably puts you among the world's wealthy. The very fact that I had the time to write this book puts me in the same category. Let us get away from our pervasive dishonesty and frankly admit our wealth. Although most of us have a difficult time balancing our budgets, we must recognize that as world citizens we are among the very wealthy.

But please note that this is not intended to make us feel guilty; it is intended to help us capture an accurate picture of the real situation in the world. We are wealthy. The very fact that we have the leisure time to read a book or watch television means that we are wealthy. We do not need to be ashamed of our wealth or try to hide it from ourselves and others. It is only as we admit our wealth and quit trying to run from it that we are in a position to conquer it and use it for God's good purposes.

Third, let us create an atmosphere in which confession is possible. Much of our preaching on money has been either to condemn it or praise it but not to help each other relate to it. Many of us feel isolated and alone, as if we were the only ones who count our gold in the night. How much better it would be to create a climate of acceptance in which we can talk about our mutual problems and frustrations, confess our fears and temptations. We can listen with empathy to the confession of someone who has been seduced by sex; let us just as freely hear the confession of someone who has been seduced by money. Let us learn to receive from each other the heart cry, `Forgive me, for I have sinned; money has captured my heart!'

We need others who will hear our fear and hurt, accepting it and lifting it on our behalf into the arms of God. For the Church to function as the Church, it needs to create an environment in which our failures over money can come to the surface and we can be healed.

Fourth, let us discover one other person who will struggle with us through the money maze. If it could be our husband or wife, that, I think, would be ideal. Together we covenant to help each other detect when the seductive power of money is beginning to win. This needs to be done in a spirit of love and graciousness, but it does need to be done. Anything that is made totally private and is never open to public correction will be distorted. All of us need as much help as possible to unearth our blind spots. Perhaps we want more things than are good for us---we need someone to help us face that fact. Perhaps we need to venture forth courageously into the business world for Christ and his kingdom---we need those who will encourage us in this ministry. Perhaps a spirit of greed has crept into our business dealings---we need people who will help us see it. Perhaps our fears keep us from the joyful life of trust---we need those who will prod us into faith.

Fifth, let us discover ways to get in touch with the poor. One of the most damaging things affluence does is allow us to distance ourselves from the poor so we no longer see their pain. We then can create an illusionary world that prevents us from evaluating life in the light of `love of neighbor.'

What can we do? We can make a conscious choice to be among the poor, not to preach to them but to learn from them. We can read books, like The Grapes of Wrath and Songs from the Slums, that capture the smell and texture of life on the other side. We can stop watching the television programs that concentrate exclusively on the plastic world of the affluent. (If we do watch them, we can do so with discernment, knowing that it is a dream world that can easily insulate us from the pain and suffering and agony of the vast majority of humanity.)

Sixth, let us experience the meaning of inner renunciation.

Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. And I can well imagine that by the time he came down from the mountain, the words my and mine had forever changed their meaning for him. The apostle Paul speaks of `having nothing, and yet possessing everything' (2 Corinthians 6:10 NRSV). As we enter the school of inner renunciation we come into that state in which nothing belongs to us and yet everything is available to us.

We badly need a conversion in our understanding of ownership. Perhaps we need to stamp everything in our possession with the reminder `Given by God, owned by God, and to be used for the purposes of God.' We need to find ways to remind ourselves over and over again that the earth is the Lord's, not ours.

Seventh, let us give with glad and generous hearts. Giving has a way of routing out the tough old miser within us. Even the poor need to know that they can give. Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed.

Some will be led, like Saint Francis of Assisi, to give away everything and embrace `Lady Poverty.' That is not a command for all, but it is the word of the Lord for some, as Jesus' encounter with the rich young ruler testifies. We must not despise people called to this form of giving but rejoice with them in their growing freedom from the god mammon.

The rest of us can find other ways to give. We can find needy people who have no way to repay us and give to them. We can give to the Church. We can give to educational institutions. We can give to missions. We can take the money we want to give and throw a high holy party for those who need to celebrate: the idea has good biblical precedent (Deuteronomy 14:22-27 NRSV). But whatever we do, let us give, give, give. Gordon Cosby has noted that `to give away money is to win a victory over the dark powers that oppress us.'5

Perhaps you have found this a difficult chapter to read; I found it a difficult one to write. I so much wanted to get on to the good, the positive, the light side of money! We all like the affirmative viewpoint, so it is natural to downplay the negative, critical aspects. And yet, we really need to come to terms with the indisputable fact that, by far, most of Jesus' statements regarding money are about the dark side. And now we understand why this is so: only until we have faced and conquered the hellish character of money are we candidates for receiving and using its beneficial side. We now turn our attention to the light side of money. [19-36]

 

Notes

1. Quoted in Edward W Bauman, Where Your Treasure Is (Arlington, Va.: Bauman Bible Telecasts, 1980), p. 74.

2. Quoted in ibid., p. 84.

3. Quoted in Bernard Gavzer, `What People Earn,' Parade Magazine, 10 June 1984, p. 4.

4. Jacques Ellul, Money & Power (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1984), pp. 166-68.

5. Quoted in Elizabeth O'Connor, Letters to Scattered Pilgrims (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979), p. 8.

 

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