Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lessons From a Little White Dog

First I have to set the stage.

One oft misquote of scripture is "Money is the root of all evil". I have noticed people use this when talking about someone who was caught embezzling or when they find themselves in a bad divorce where money or its misuse is one of the themes. But the correct quote is from 1 Timothy 6:10

"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (NASB)

This observation leads me to believe that as humans we like to reserve something outside ourselves for casting blame on. Money seems to be the perfect scapegoat in this instance. Scripture though won't let us get away with that. Paul correctly points the finger at the root of the problem, a heart that harbors "the love of money". Ouch! It's inside me. I have to accept responsibility, now I can't blame it on money.

Crown Financial Ministries (http://www.crown.org/) identified 2,350 verses of scripture that says something about handling money. As I went to my Crown group meetings one of the things we discussed was the question, "Why do you suppose God talks to us so much about money?"

Now I can tell you about my little white dog.

Gypsy is a small to medium English pointer. My daughter brought her home to us on her last move home. Gypsy was rescued from the pound. I think her previous owner must have been a football player because she loves to tackle and body slam. Oh, did I mention she has the energy level of Taz the animated Tasmanian devil? She constantly tackles your feet and bites them as you walk by. The morning stumble down the hall is now a real treat. Playful dog biting and grabbing while I try to find the kitchen without falling down. When I finally make it to the coffeemaker Gypsy grabs her stainless steel food dish and attacks it like she did my feet crashing it and clanging it all about.

I have been working with Gypsy on obedience training and making some progress. One real area that needs work is the complete misunderstanding of the command "come". For some unexplained dog reason every time I holler, "come" she runs away. In fact it's as if she waits for the door to open just wide enough for her to bolt out. She is really so obstinate I hate chasing her down. I really just want to say, "So you want to run away - good riddance!" but she has a chip in her ear. If I let her go animal control will find her and return her. Sheesh.

One sunny summer morning I went out to check the mail. I thought I closed the door behind me. Gypsy bolted across the lawn and down the street to the corner. I was barefoot and only wearing my bathrobe. I wasn't about to chase her this time. Good riddance. I called to her only to see her tail disappear around the corner. "I'm not chasing her," I thought to myself. Then I remembered her stainless steel dog dish. I picked up her dish and dropped her chew bone inside. Clang it rang. I took it outside and started to rattle and clang it while calling Gypsy by name. Soon a little dog head peeked around the corner and saw the dish. Next thing I know I have an English pointer torpedo heading straight for me. In the house, lets get in the house. Ok so that was a good trick. But wouldn't it be better if she actually came when called?

The Lesson

So what's this got to do with money? Well the question was why do you suppose there are so many verses in the Bible about money? The answer, God speaks to us about money so much because it is something we respond to. Like Gypsy's stainless steel dish money is something we are fond of and it gets our attention. Now wouldn't it be better if we just came when called?

I don't think God is responsible for money. I believe it is an invention of man, a tool to use. Money in and of itself is neither good nor bad any more than any of the other tools in my storage shed. God loves us so much He makes use of it to get our attention. He doesn't have to. He could just let us run away and say good riddance.

Response

Read Colossians chapter 3, Paul writes in Colossians 3:5 that greed amounts to idolatry. The solution is to consider greed dead, to be renewed in the knowledge of Christ, and to put on love and allow Christ to rule in our hearts. This is how the Holy Spirit wants us trained.