How many people in the world today sell their souls for the Almighty dollar, rather than giving their souls to the Almighty? Sadly, lots of people choose money over salvation, to their eternal ruin. Chasing after money, instead of trying to be more like Jesus Christ, means that you may be blessed in this world with a big house, lots of vacations, and fancy cars, but the danger exists that you will not be blessed in the next life. The love of money can ruin a person faster than just about anything. Some studies have shown that the more income a person has, the less percentage of money he gives to the poor. Why? Probably because of greed, and an imagined worry that someone is going to come along and take it all away. Poorer people realize that they are more dependent on God for their next dollar, and tend to give a higher percentage to the poor as a result (just like the widow in the Bible who gave all she had).
A lot of people today listen to money “experts” trying to sell their services on late night TV. Watching these loud people talking about getting rich quick is tantamount to pure torture. We saw earlier in this century how the people running the home loan departments of huge banks in America went bankrupt. Investment scams operated by rich crooks seem to be the way of the world today.
For sure, it is no sin to be rich. The problem lies when you stop owning all of that money, and the money starts to own you! The bible depicts Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea as pretty well off, but they used their wealth for good purposes, like providing a tomb for Jesus and buying 100 pounds of burial spices for the Lord.
For some rich people, making a huge amount of money is the goal of life. But God really prefers us to be more dependent on Him than on our bank account. The sin for some rich people is that they think that their money provides them with all they will ever need in the world, like the well-off farmer in the bible who had a bumper crop,. Some never think about dying, and how all of their money will do them no good on their judgment day. A good example of this is the story of two rich business associates. One invested wisely, and one poorly. The poor investor went totally bankrupt, and now lives paycheck to paycheck. As a result of going broke, he now prays regularly for guidance from above, and goes to Mass every day, being totally dependent on God to provide him with a monthly income. The wise investor is filthy rich, and feels like he doesn’t need God, and his money is all he needs to get by in life. Who got the better deal? You decide.
For the record, the bible says that almsgiving atones for sin. So if you are well off financially, try giving a higher percentage of your money to the poor. The benefits of doing that are literally out of this world!
Below are some great quotes from the Bible, from the saints, and from authors regarding the fatal lure of the love of money.
Bible Quotes on the Love of Money (from the RSV-CE)
Tobit 12:8-9: Prayer is good when accompanied by fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin. Those who perform deeds of charity and of righteousness will have fullness of life;
Ecclesiastes 5:10: He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.
Luke 6:24: But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation
Luke 12:16-22: And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits .And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns and will build greater: and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me and my goods. And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest: eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee. And whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God. And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you: Be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on.
Luke 16:19-25: “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz’arus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz’arus in his bosom. And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz’arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Luke 18:24-25: Jesus looking at him said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For 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.”
Luke 21:1-4: He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.”
1 Timothy 3:2-3: Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money.
1 Timothy 6:9-10: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.
2 Timothy 3:1-5: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”
James 1:11: For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
James 2:6: But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court?
James 5:1-6: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Revelation 3:17: For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Saint Quotes on the Love of Money
We should have no more use or regard for money in any of its forms than we have for dust. Those who think it is worth more, or who are greedy for it, expose themselves to the danger of being deceived by the Devil.” ‒ St. Francis of Assisi
“Riches prick us with a thousand troubles in getting them, as many cares in preserving them, and yet more anxiety in spending them, and with grief in losing them.” ‒ St. Francis of Assisi
“The rich man who gives to the poor does not bestow alms but pays a debt.” ‒ St. Ambrose of Milan
“The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.” ‒ St. Basil the Great
“How mistaken are the great majority of men! If they are rich, they at once desire honours; and if these are obtained, they are still unhappy; for never can that heart be satisfied which seeks anything but God.” ‒ Zélie Guérin Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux
“Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul.” ‒ St. Anthony of Padua
Author Quotes on the Love of Money
“Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it. The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.” ‒ GK Chesterton
“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” ‒ Dorothy Parker
“Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil.” ‒ Henry Fielding
“Do not be fooled into believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.” ‒ Julius Rosenwald
“It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.” ‒ Logan Pearsall Smith
“Money: There’s nothing in the world so demoralizing as money.” ‒ Sophocles