All of us want to succeed, right? All of us want to be recognised as exceptional, preferably in a good way. Our culture lifts up the exceptional as models to be emulated. We’re told that we’re all special. We’re told that everyone is exceptional at something, we just need to figure out what it is.
The end game is Success™. By which we mean money and power.
It’s a mindset that is pervasive and has found it’s way into the church. The clearest examples of this are in the “Word of Faith” churches, where on any given Sunday it is possible to see people encouraged to give in order to receive. Healing promised as a reward for donations. And even so-called “ministers of the gospel” dancing on money. You read that correctly.
The rest of us might not go that far, but we certainly place high value on worldly success. We want to be successful. We want our children to be successful. Earning good money, with good and important jobs.
But sometimes the things that we want for ourselves are not the things that God wants for us.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
There’s a rap song called “Fal$e Teacher$” by Shai Linne. It’s a song that mentions the above verse and goes on to say what I can only describe as a stinging rebuke:
Tell me, who would teach you to pursue as a goal / The very thing that the Bible said will ruin your soul, huh?
And yet, how often do we find ourselves doing that very thing? Seeking after riches and teaching others to do the same.
I believe hard work and dedication will pay off in the end. I believe that a righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but friends, we need to avoid the love of money. We need to avoid the grasping and desperate desire to be wealthy and successful. Because we could very well gain these things and lose something much more important:
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:26)
Money itself is not evil. The love of money is. People can be wealthy and be Christians. But you can’t love money and long maintain your faith. It will lead you astray.
Seeking Success™ may well lead to money and power but rarely does it lead to everlasting life.