So far in this series entitled, ‘What motivates or drives you? we have looked at some of the key internal drivers of motivation, all of them negative and all of which have the capacity to destroy the individual whose life is driven by them.
First we looked at Absalom, the son of King David, whose key driver was pride and ambition, ultimately leading to his death. We see fear and insecurity in the life of King Saul and in the life of Cain the brother of Abel; we see jealousy and envy as the prime drivers.
In this fourth article we are going to be looking at another key propellant, something that has become the god of the age that we live in. Indeed it is one of the perennial gods which in our modern age has taken on such huge significance driven by the extreme materialism of our world. I am talking about wealth or money.
In the New Testament there is a story which illustrates the risks and the danger to a life which is ruled or controlled by wealth. In Mark’s 10:17-27 and Matthew 19: 16-26, we read the story of a moment in time when Jesus was setting out on a journey. A man ran up to him and asked, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus responded to his question with his own question: ‘why do you call me good? He then went on to enunciate elements of the Ten Commandments: do not steal, do not kill, do not commit adultery, etc.
The man’s response was that he had kept all the requirements of the Decalogue from his youth. The narrative informs us that Jesus felt real compassion and love for the man. The reason he felt the way he did was because he could see right through this man. He discerned and understood what the main controlling factor in the life of the man was.
Jesus told him, ‘You lack one thing; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor. Not only will you have treasure in heaven, you can then come and follow me.’ We read that the man was not only saddened, he went away grieving because he was one who owned much property.
So, we see a man who ostensibly had everything; he had it all, yet in actual fact he was, in terms of eternal things, a loser. First, as far as the law was concerned, he was beyond reproach. He had observed it since his youth. Secondly, as far as wealth was concerned, he had it all; he was wealthy above the ordinary. That however was the very heart of his problem.
The problem for the man was instead of being in control of his wealth, he was controlled by his wealth; his possessions possessed him. Jesus went on to use hyperbolic language to highlight the problem posed by great wealth; stating that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. What he meant by this is that if we are controlled by wealth, it has the potential to debar us from entering into God’s kingdom. That is because the first commandment is that we shall have no other gods beside God Himself. In other words, if there is anything that airbrushes, displaces or seeks to erase God from our lives, that thing becomes a god, and is liable to destroy our lives.
So, for those who have the privilege and blessing of wealth; does it drive, motivate or control you? For those who do not have money, what control does the quest for it have over your life? If it does, there is a way out: acknowledge, confess, repent and shift your confidence from what you own to the God who created and ultimately owns you.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2014©
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