BY CARL A. TRAPANI
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Isaiah 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
In our materialistic society we see people striving to earn more money than they will ever use. People are working 2 and 3 jobs, trying to get ahead. Ahead of who? or whet? Their neighbors? The undertaker?
Credit card debt in the U.S. is in the billions of dollars. I’ve had couples in my office for financial counseling whose debts were incredible. One couple had over $12,000 worth of bills and debts against $3000 in assets. They had just consolidated their debts and were paying $250 a month for the next five years on a car worth less than $1000! Another couple I counseled was going deeper in debt each month because they insisted on living in an expensive apartment and keeping two cars.
Americans are consumers. We buy so many things that have no lasting value. A great lesson in consumerism can be learnt by going to a store and just walking around observing. I was in Wal-Mart the other day and noticed several things. One boy insisted that his mother buy him the kind of candy he wanted. She stood there like an obedient servant and said, “O.K. but just get one.” He got two.
A little boy screamed at his mother to get him a toy gun. He got it.
As I was leaving the store I saw two girls opening packages of their newly purchased dolls. One stepped on a piece that dropped from the package and broke it. “No matter,” she said, “Mom will get me another!’
We buy all this stuff, and then have thrift sales to get rid of it! We look for ways to accumulate more. We think in terms of wealth as always being material, something we can hold and feel. But true wealth actually consists of things that are better than gold.
1. A GOOD NAME. Having a good reputation is worth more than any amount of money. The Seven Deacons and Cornelius were all “men of good report.” Their standing in the general community made them valuable to the Church. Prov 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Prov 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
2. LOVING FAVOR. Prov 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Cyrus, king of Persia, gave a bag of gold to one man, and a hug and kiss on the cheek to another. Which gift was dearer? Today’s parents are giving their children things…when all the children really want is to spend time with their parents and receive their loving attention.
Prov 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Prov 3:14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Prov 3:15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canstdesire are not to be compared unto her.
Knowledge isn’t wisdom. I knew two men who were electronics geniuses but they did not have much wisdom. They became reclusive spiritists after the death of their parents. One became ill from an exclusive diet of vitamins and milk. After surgery, he became morose and committed suicide. His surviving brother found he couldn’t pay the bills and went to the county poor farm.
You can have wisdom without education. Bishop Clausen Williams of Detroit, Michigan was a 4th grade drop-out. He became a rag-picker to earn enough to eat. But eventually, because of an innate wisdom born through his love of God’s Word, he became the wise pastor of over 2000 people.
4. TRUTH. There are times truth is more valuable than gold. Ask an airlines – “Is this a safe plane?” When was it checked out last? Is the pilot responsible or is he on drugs or drunk? Will this plane take me to where I want to go, at the prescribed times? Ask your lawyer – “Is my will correct? “Can you really defend me in court? Ask your doctor –
“What’s wrong? Can you help me? What’s going to happen to me?
Rev. Carl A. Trapani, editor of the WDN, pastors the Apostolic Faith Church in Eau Claire, WI. He is also a psychotherapist at Heinz Psychological Services. For counseling information call (715)834-3171.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE WISCONSIN DISTRICT NEWS, APRIL-MAY 1998, PAGE 11. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.