The Things that MONEY Cannot Buy!
I have chosen a text from the book of Ecclesiastes, for my Message today which I have entitled,
“The Things that Money cannot Buy!”
We read in Ecclesiastes 10:19
“A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things”.
Whether we like it or not, it is true that “money makes the world go around” – and in our Old Testament Lesson we read that Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) believed that Money answers all things. What does that mean?… Well to put it simply, all things pertaining to life as we know it, have some connection or something to do with money. We get out of bed in the morning, because we must make money, we work 9 to 5 because we need money. We study for a an education or a degree because we must make a living, we save to buy a house, to holiday abroad, to change the car, and we lay funds in store in our early years because we must someday retire, and for all this we need money. Those more prudent amongst us will ensure that Funeral expenses are taken care of, long before we have passed away! Whatever way you put it, everything costs MONEY.
Money enables us to live more comfortably, to eat more healthily, to give more generously, to lend more liberally, to invest more prudently, and to achieve more successfully. It is true that many of life’s problems and pressures can be solved more readily with Money than without it. Money can and does buy happiness, Those who deny this simply don’t know where to shop! Yet such happiness is only temporary and money can also buy sorrow and disappointment. It can pay for pleasure as well as pain. It has bought a man a Mercedes, as well as Murder, it has paid for his Wedding, as well as his Divorce, his laughter and his tears. You see, MONEY is no respecter of persons, and the love of it, is the “root of all evil” and the cause of much sorrow!
Yet, as we shall see in a moment, there are many things that Money Cannot Buy! and we shall discover that “Real Wealth” is not in the things which are obtained by endless work and sleepless toil.
First of all, Money Cannot Buy HEALTH
It can buy pills, drugs, medicines, pay for the best doctors and consultants, the best counsellors and clinics, but it cannot buy health. Some years ago, after what seemed a simple fall, I was left incapacitated for several months. At times I couldn’t even stand on my feet, and had to Preach while sitting on a stool in the Pulpits! I thought how wonderful it would be to just go for a walk, to be able to go to the shop and buy a pint of milk, or a loaf of bread without having to rely on someone else to take me and help me.
I was given the options of paying for necessary surgery, or waiting for a few years on a treatment list, but while money paid for an operation, it did not buy my health – God gave me back my health. Many of you listening today will have had similar situations, some of you may be in Hospital or a Nursing Home right now, unable to walk unaided, unable to put up an umbrella or smell the roses, and you would just love to be able to get out there into the world and walk again, and do things for yourself, as you know as well as I do, that no amount of mere Money could allow you to do it!
How easily we can take for granted the most important things of life. In my opinion, to be able to get OUT of Bed in the morning, open your front door and walk down the street, makes you a “wealthy” man or woman. No Money can buy you that ability. I was amused recently while reading of a typing error in a New York newspaper. The article read ….
On October 7, at the funeral of New York’s Cardinal Terence J. Cooke. “As the coffin was lifted and carried to the altar, more than 3000 mourners sung the hymn, ‘O God Our Health and Age Has Passed.'”
Here at any rate, that large congregation seemed to acknowledge that God is the giver of “Health and Age”
In the Second place, Money Cannot Buy PEACE
It can buy double glazing to shut out the noise, security gates to keep out the threats, and weaponry to take out the intruders! But Money cannot buy peace, – peace of mind, peace with your neighbour, peace with your family, nor Peace with God.
The Apostle Paul writing to young Timothy (his son in the faith) says:
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6: 9-10
Here Paul seems to indicate the opposite, in that far from bringing peace, Money, and the love of it, can bring many sorrows. History records for us that while many have died and left great Fortunes behind them, they lived a miserable existence, and spend all their lives plagued with anxiety and fear of loss. Have you noticed that the first half of the word Miserable,
is the word Miser!
Jowett, the author says, “The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our Money! Wise words.
Man, a wealthy man, a man of means has mistakenly thought he could buy “Peace” with his maker, peace with God. But Peace and Power with God are not for sale. Remember in Acts Chapter 8:18 ….” when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered the apostles money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. ”
Peace and Power with God is FREE, given as a gift by the great grace, the unmerited favour shown towards the hungry soul. Hunger and thirst after righteousness and you shall be filled: Jesus said … and remember how the prophet Isaiah puts it in Chapter 55:
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness”.
You see the benefits and blessings of the Child of God are without Money and without Price, for the “Free Gift of God is eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord” .
Thirdly, Money Cannot Buy HAPPINESS.
Jesus taught us that happiness is not something that depends on our circumstances, but rather is something that comes from within, rather than without. Happiness is a matter of the heart.
One day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a Jewish Rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. “Look out there,” he said. The rich man looked into the street. “What do you see?” asked the Rabbi. “I see men, women, and children,” answered the rich man. Again the Rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. “Now what do you see?” “Now I see myself,” the rich man replied.
Then the Rabbi said, “Consider this, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, but you see only yourself.”
A simple story yet profound, for the most miserable people are those who are most “self-centred”, or can see only themselves.
Happiness is not found in running circles around yourself, in self seeking, self promotion, selfish ambition or selfish desires. It is rather in seeking happiness for others, that we will unconsciously find it for ourselves.
The wealthy man, will discover that instead of filling a void, his money often creates a void! For God has not designed us to be grabbers, but givers. I believe that every true Christian is a Cheerful Giver, and if not, then the Holy Spirit is being grieved and quenched in their lives. If you are not searching every day for new ways to give, then the true life of Jesus, the life of the Spirit, is not actively controlling your heart. Remember “It is more blessed, to give than to receive!” You show me a Happy Christian and I will know that that person is a giving soul, giving gladly and generously to others, and to the Church.
Show me a miserable Christian, sad and despondent, and I
recon that such a one, has a closed up bank account and a hardened up heart. I have seen it a hundred times over in Church and congregational life. How we handle our money reveals much about the depth of our commitment to Christ. That’s why Jesus often talked about money. One-sixth of the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touches on the stewardship of our resources. Jesus wasn’t a fundraiser.
He dealt with money matters, because money matters.
Yet for some of us, it matters too much.
Then as we shall see, Money Cannot Buy LOVE
Solomon in Proverbs 31 talks about the value of a Virtuous or Good Woman’s Love, and also about the loving respect of Children. Can you buy the Love of a good Wife, or the love of a little Child? Of course not, such love is priceless. Indeed Solomon describes it as a “treasure”. You may buy Flattery, you may buy Fame, you may buy Attention and Affection, but the fruits of such are the illusions of the Ego, the Self life!
There are many so called and so classed famous idols today, whose fame and fortunes are short lived, even if they do survive the media pressures. But when a five year old boy boasts in the School-yard that his Dad is his Hero, or that he Loves his Dad, no MONEY could buy that! When the teen-age Girl can say, “my Mummy taught me what a Wife really should be” then a Mothers heart knows that the Love that moulds and makes a child into an adult, cannot be bought.
Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.
I want to say a word here to you Husbands and Wives listening me today. How many times in any day do you use those three
little words “I LOVE YOU”. I think I can actually hear some of you respond with phrases like, “if you show it you don’t need to say it” well – that’s nonsense and the height of folly! Of course you need to say it, and say it regularly, and say it to your partner as well as to your Children. I can guarantee you that
if you do, it will make a noticeable change to your home environment immediately! Many marriages are falling apart today simply for the lack of it!
In my years in Crisis Counselling Ministry, I discovered to my horror that this simple sentence was missing in many of our homes, even our Christian Homes. If this is so in your home, then Shame on you, and if you haven’t already said “I love you” to someone today, do it now! I counselled with a young 19 year old man, a while ago who told me that in his 19 years, no one, not even his Mother and Father had ever used those three words, I LOVE YOU while speaking to him. Was it any wonder that he was contemplating suicide?
If our children do not understand the love of an earthly Father, how can we expect them to understand the greater love of our Heavenly Father?
The late Dr Stephen Olford also a frequent Radio Preacher, from whom I have learned a very great deal and to whom I owe much, told me on one occasion, “I scarcely pass my wife on the stairs, but that I say to her I love you” They had engraved on the inside of their wedding rings the words “each for the other – both for God”. What a wonderful way to live, and I think what a wonderful change that would make in your home if that was your daily focus. Remember, MONEY cannot buy Love!
Finally, Money Cannot Buy FORGIVENESS.
Way back, even in the days of Jesus ministry on earth, there were those who were under the illusion that you could somehow buy the favour of God. We read in John 2:14-16
“And (Jesus) found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had
made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, ‘Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise‘”.
Gods house was never meant for Buying and Selling, nor for Trading and making Profit! Gods blessing and benefits are not for sale. I don‘t make money from my Anointing – I have travelled the world, and never asked any Church for an offering or expenses. Some have given me a Love offering, and some a Like offering – I thank God for both. Yet, and I am saddened that it should be so, we continue, even in our so called “Evangelical” Churches to have all kinds of “Fund Raising” exercises to advance the Kingdom of our Blessed Lord Jesus.
I am opposed to any and all such activity in Church matters, not because I am some sort of “Ogre” or “Kill-joy” but because
I believe that God is opposed to these activities, and they undoubtedly block the blessing that could otherwise flow to
and through the Church. I heard recently of a Church whose membership were asked to “Loan” God the money!
Think of it – lending money to God! Oh the shame of the Unbelief that cripples the Church. Have we not understood the promise that if we “give … it will be given unto us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing” (Luke 6:38) Don’t we believe God anymore?
Some will say, but we just can’t get the Money in! Maybe they cannot get the money in from you? “What if everyone gave as you give?” – What if everyone gave as I give?“ and is giving your way of life? Jesus said “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. Is He first? Is He Lord of your Cash and your Stash? Its never foolish to give what you cannot keep, to gain what you cannot lose!
Can I be personal for a moment and ask you when was the last time to gave something away that really hurt. I mean by that, a sacrifice, something you truly needed for yourself, but out of love and gratitude to God you gave it up for love of Him? This is the only kind of giving I know. I recon that if it doesn’t hurt then it is of no value to God. God is not so much looking at what you give away, rather he is looking at what you have left.
Indeed as Dr. Scroggie (one time minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London) used to say:
There are two ways in which a Christian may view his money… “How much of my money shall I use for God?” or “How much of God’s money shall I use for myself?” None of it belongs to you, and if you are holding tightly on to it, take care, – God may suddenly and unexpectedly take it all away. Get it into your mind and heart that it is not yours, you are only asked to manage it for the kingdom sake. – And a word to those of you who are struggling, – God may not allow you to manage what is His, when he sees you cannot manage what you think is yours?
But when it comes to SALVATION, and the FORGIVNESS OF SINS, Money can’t buy it. The Church needs money, for its fabric and its ministry. Paul reminds us to “contribute to the needs of the saints and practice hospitality” Romans 12:13.
Yet God needs nothing that we can give him, save our service.
Our Salvation and Forgiveness, has already been bought and paid for. “For we are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold,- but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:18 The Hymn writer could say
“Jesus paid it all”. No amount of money that you or I can give, could give or will give would secure Personal Salvation. You see you cannot buy that which is not for sale! Salvation is not a commodity, rather it is a gift. It has already been gift-wrapped in Bethlehem, purchased at a great personal cost, available for collection when you choose, but could be lost if you delay! Someone has said:
“Money will buy a bed but not sleep;
books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; religion but not salvation;
and a passport to everywhere but heaven!”
Now this final word
John G. Wendel and his sisters were some of the most miserly people of all time. Although they had received a huge inheritance from their parents, they spent very little of it, and did all they could to keep their wealth for themselves.
John was able to influence five of his six sisters never to marry, and they lived in the same house in New York City for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her estate was valued at more than $100 million. Her only dress was one that she had made herself, and she had worn it for 25 years.
The Wendels had such a compulsion to hold on to their possessions that they lived and died like paupers. Even worse, they were like the kind of person Jesus referred to “those who lay up for themselves treasure, and are not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
If I should read of your passing in the papers – and that you left behind you “thousands in cash and kind” then I will have only one question on my heart -”What sort of Mansion were you expecting in heaven – since you appeared to have sent so little ahead of you to prepare for it” Jesus said “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven” he did not say that he was laying it up for us!
And so may God help us all to understand that the most valuable things of this life, are not those we can buy in any shop!
God Bless You. Amen