克服對金錢的貪戀──OVERCOMING THE CONSUMING LOVE OF MONEY

曾有一段時間,追求金錢是我生命的主要元素。毫無疑問,賺錢可以成為一種生活方式,而且一直都是這樣。在聖經中,我們發現使徒保羅用這些智慧的話教導他的門徒:「貪財是萬惡之根。有人貪戀錢財,就被引誘離了真道,用許多愁苦把自己刺透了。」(提摩太前書 6章10節)。

保羅並不是說金錢本質上是邪惡的,但對金錢的熱愛會導致多種形式的惡。擁有金錢或渴望金錢並沒有錯,但是當它成為我們的目標(goal)和追求的神(god)時,我們就有大麻煩了。

我記得過去的一個汽車保險桿貼紙大膽地宣稱:「死的時候擁有最多玩具的人就贏了」。這句耍小聰明的話得到了許多人的同意,他們迷戀的事物越來越多,無論付出什麼代價都想得到它。但這句話是正確的嗎?

以智慧著稱的以色列王所羅門談到了這個問題。在傳道書 2章11節 中,他明智地承認:後來,我察看我手所經營的一切事和我勞碌所成的功。誰知都是虛空,都是捕風;在日光之下毫無益處」。作為一生大部分時間都致力於追求和享受物質和感官事物的人,他根據個人經歷寫道,對金錢的熱愛「只是在追風」。

喜愛錢財。這也許不是唯一的原因,但它絕對是多種惡的根源,我們在生活的各個領域都看到了這一點。如果我們愛錢,就不能愛上帝。在現實中,我們不必擁有很多數量的錢,但是卻仍然愛錢!一個人可能身無分文,但仍然對金錢所能獲得的東西懷有強烈的愛。

對重要的事情分心。我們很容易陷入罪惡的陷阱,將金錢會帶來幸福和滿足合理化。時間和經驗給我完全相反的結論:我親自觀察到金錢會如何產生各種干擾,引誘我們遠離生命中真正重要的事情,例如人際關係和我們珍視的價值觀。

專注於錯誤的事情。我看過很多人,像被蠱惑般著迷於自己的事業和報酬到一個地步,以至於忽視了家人、朋友和上帝。即使是重生的基督徒也可能狂熱地專注於賺錢,而完全忽略了生活中最重要的東西,那些不能失去的東西。為了讓我們重回正軌,上帝可能用很多方法重新引起我們的注意:生病、失業或其他一些生意上的失敗、離婚或任何形式的逆境。

積攢財寶。耶穌在馬太福音 6 章 19-21 節說得很清楚,他警告說:「不要為自己積攢財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積攢財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」

你的心在哪裡呢?你每天獻身和專注的焦點在哪裡呢?是靠累積越來越多的金錢和在地上可以買到的東西,還是靠你和天父的關係呢?聖經教導我們要「盡心、盡意、盡性、盡力愛主你的神」並「將財寶積攢在天上」。我們有在這樣做嗎?

Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年,他熱心於將自己與神的關係書寫出來,目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員,在2014年時,他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。

備註:如果你手上有聖經想閱讀更多內容,請考慮以下經文(請查閱未列出的經文馬太福音6:24-34)
傳道書 2章4-11節
2:4 我為自己動大工程,建造房屋,栽種葡萄園,
2:5 修造園囿,在其中栽種各樣果木樹;
2:6 挖造水池,用以澆灌嫩小的樹木。
2:7 我買了僕婢,也有生在家中的僕婢;又有許多牛群羊群,勝過以前在耶路撒冷眾人所有的。
2:8 我又為自己積蓄金銀和君王的財寶,並各省的財寶;又得唱歌的男女和世人所喜愛的物,並許多的妃嬪。
2:9 這樣,我就日見昌盛,勝過以前在耶路撒冷的眾人。我的智慧仍然存留。
2:10 凡我眼所求的,我沒有留下不給它的;我心所樂的,我沒有禁止不享受的;因我的心為我一切所勞碌的快樂,這就是我從勞碌中所得的分。
2:11 後來,我察看我手所經營的一切事和我勞碌所成的功。誰知都是虛空,都是捕風;在日光之下毫無益處。
提摩太後書 3章1-5節
3:1 你該知道,末世必有危險的日子來到。
3:2 因為那時,人要專顧自己,貪愛錢財,自誇,狂傲,謗讟,違背父母,忘恩負義,心不聖潔,
3:3 無親情,不解怨,好說讒言,不能自約,性情凶暴,不愛良善,
3:4 賣主賣友,任意妄為,自高自大,愛宴樂,不愛 神,
3:5 有敬虔的外貌,卻背了敬虔的實意;這等人你要躲開。
雅各書 4章13-17節
4:13 嗐!你們有話說:「今天明天我們要往某城裏去,在那裏住一年,做買賣得利。」
4:14 其實明天如何,你們還不知道。你們的生命是甚麼呢?你們原來是一片雲霧,出現少時就不見了。
4:15 你們只當說:「主若願意,我們就可以活著,也可以做這事,或做那事。」
4:16 現今你們竟以張狂誇口;凡這樣誇口都是惡的。
4:17 人若知道行善,卻不去行,這就是他的罪了。

反省與問題討論

  1. 當你讀到「金錢是萬惡之源」時,你有何感想?你同意這個說法嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  2. 你是否認識因為追求金錢和物質,生命反而受到負面影響的人?或許你自己也有過這樣的經歷。你觀察到的一些後果是什麼?
  3. 你認為過度專注金錢和它帶來的方便會如何影響人際關係—不僅是我們與家人和朋友的關係,還有與上帝的關係?
  4. 一個人可以採取哪些步驟,辨認自己已經(或正在)因為熱愛金錢而生命被消耗著?以及如何克服這種不健康的沉迷


WHY WE CAN TRUST THE BEST BUSINESS BOOK EVER

By Jim Langley

There was a time when the pursuit of money was the dominating factor in my life. Without question, making money can become a way of life, and it has always been that way. In the Bible we find the apostle Paul instructing his protégé with these words of wisdom: “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 6:10).

Paul is not stating that money is inherently evil, but the love of money can lead to many forms of evil. There is nothing wrong with having money or desiring money, but when it becomes both our goal and our god, we have a huge problem.

I recall a car bumper sticker from the past that made the bold claim, “HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS. That clever saying found agreement from many people enamored with accumulating more and more, no matter what it cost to get it. But is that true?

King Solomon of Israel, renowned for his wisdom, addressed this subject. In Ecclesiastes 2:11 he wisely conceded, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” As a man who had devoted much of his life to the pursuit and enjoyment of material and sensual things, he wrote from the personal experience of one who had learned that the love of money is “simply chasing the wind.”

The Love of Money. It is not the only cause, certainly, but definitely a root of many kinds of evil. We see this in every area of life. If we are in love with money, we cannot be in love with God. And in reality, we do not have to have a lot of money to love it! A person can be penniless and still have a deep affection for what money can acquire.

Becoming Distracted from What is Important. We can easily fall into the sinful trap of rationalizing that money will bring happiness and contentment. Time and experience have shown me just the opposite: I have personally observed how money can create all kinds of distractions, luring us away from what really matters in life, important things like relationships and our cherished values.

Focusing on the Wrong Things. I have seen many people who have become obsessed by their careers and financial rewards to the extent of neglecting family, friends, and God. Even followers of Jesus Christ can become fanatically focused on making money and totally lose sight of what is most important in life, the things that cannot be lost. To get us back on track, God can use many ways to regain our attention: illness, the loss of a job or some other business failure, divorce, or any number of forms of adversity.

Storing Up Treasures. Jesus stated it clearly in Matthew 6:19-21 when He warned, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where is your heart, the focus of your daily devotion and attention? Is it on accumulating more and more money and the things it can buy here on earth, or is it on your relationship with your Heavenly Father? The Bible teaches we are to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength” and “store up your treasures in Heaven.” Are we doing that?

© 2021, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014. 

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. When you read “money is a root of all evil,” what does that say to you? Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?
  2. Have you known of people whose lives were adversely affected by the pursuit of money and material things? Perhaps you have experienced some of this yourself. What have been some of the consequences that you observed?
  3. How do you think that an inordinate focus on money and its perceived benefits can affect relationships – not only with our family and friends, but also with God?
  4. What are some steps a person can take, first to recognize if they have become (or are becoming) consumed with the love of money, and also how to overcome this unhealthy obsession?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages:
Ecclesiastes 2:4-11; Matthew 6:24-34; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; James 4:13-17


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