Long time ago I used not just to listening, but also singing and love all kinds of songs. I had Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Boyz Two Men, Tupac Shakur, LL Cool J, R Kelly, Nas, Puff Daddy, Jay Z, of course Alicia Keys and Beyonce, and so many other singers and rappers on my playlists. I also had this habit; if I liked the song, I would do my best to memorize the lyrics so that I could sing along when the song played. I still do listen to few of these singers I have mentioned to this day, except that I am now selective and more into the lyrics and the whole appearance thing. Some lyrics and appearances do not make sense, if you know what I mean. And since the songs were going to be on my playlists, I would probably listen to them more than one time. So imagine what information and images I would be feeding myself more than one time.
Anyway, I was in the car the other day, just minding my own business, and then LL Cool J song started playing on the radio. I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard him said,“Man made the money, money never made the man.”
For a while I could not understand some scriptures concerning money, but that day when I heard the words from LL Cool J’ song, “Man made the money, money never made the man,” I said ‘Aha.’ How come I didn’t get it before?
Reading from the Bible, in the book of Matthew chapter 22 verse 15 to 22, from New International Bible version, and it says, “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Him in His words. They sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that You are a man of integrity and that You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is Your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap Me? Show Me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought Him a denarius, and He asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then He said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away.”
And I said, that’s it, I get it now; “Man made the money, money never made the man.” That money was made by Caesar, and it had his image and inscription on it, and Caesar government perhaps was the one who put the imperial taxing system, so yeah, give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.
Honestly, this Bible passage is very deep. And the question that Jesus asked them is what makes it very deep; “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” Think about it.
I also went to re-read other scriptures that Jesus said about money. For instance the ones that Jesus said about serving two masters. In Matthew Chapter 6 verse 24, it says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The same Bible passage in God’s Word Bible translation says, “No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Money should never be your master, but should always be your servant. Like P.T. Barnum has been quoted as saying, “Money is a terrible master, but an excellent servant.” As currency and medium of exchange societies use, there are lots of advantages and benefits money can give you. Money can give you lots of options and financial freedom, and which will give you so many other freedoms to do, buy, and achieve lots of things in this life. But as soon you think or make money your master instead of your servant, it will bully you, take advantage of your lack of knowledge on how to spend it wisely, and drag you into places and situations that you wish if you could do things all over again, you wouldn’t make such unwise decisions again. If you won’t respect money, it won’t respect you. As they say, ‘money itself is not bad, and it doesn’t change a person, but it can reveal a person true values because now you no longer forced by your circumstances to be humble, or you are not limited to do certain things. Money can give you power to do good, or abuse things and manipulate situations. It can reveal whether you are trustworthy and fit to handle the wealth. People can steal, kill, or do sorts of detestable things because of money. So money can reveal your true characters.
Money is a very powerful tool; if you use it well, it will make you richer. If you abuse it, then it will make you poor. Money can provide a wonderful and comfortable life for you and your loved ones, and help you do great service to humanity, and serve God in a big way, and that is truly honorable. What is not honorable though is when you love money to make it be your god to the point to worship it, or compare it with the real God. Remember LL Cool J words, “Men make money,” but the moment “Money makes you,” then we don’t know what to make of you. It’s like saying humans make God, instead of saying God makes humans. Do you see why it doesn’t make sense?
For instance this Bible passage about “The Rich Young Ruler,” in the book of Mark chapter 10 verse 17 to 27, and it says; “As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
And I know, a lot of people have some kind of issue with this scripture passage. And I think it’s just a matter of misunderstanding. You see, “The Rich Young Ruler,” put his trust in his possession and wealth, and not in God. Jesus knew, so He revealed to him what to do if he wanted to be perfect in the eyes of God. The first of the Ten Commandments says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The Lord Jesus knows, some of us we know, its only by God’s grace that we will be able to enter the Kingdom of God because we are short of God’s glory. In the book of Romans 3 chapter 23, it says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” But Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Another thing we learned is that this Rich Young Ruler forgot that if he ever happened to lose his money, he can make it again, remember…with God, all things are possible. How many people do you know who lost everything, and then were able to gain even more after they have lost everything? How many times in your life you thought this is it, I am not going to recover what I have lost, and then God surprises you beyond your imagination, and when you look back, you are amazed, because you are now more well off than you used to be or have? And you didn’t have to do anything wrong, to steal, or break the law to get it back.
What is one of the true measures of a successful, wealthy, or great person? Simply is that if you take their possessions, career, businesses, and what they have accomplished today, they can reproduce everything again pretty much in given time. It is because of who they have become and what they are capable of.
So the Rich Young Ruler was able to keep all the commandments Jesus mentioned, but Jesus knew he missed the first and second of the 10 commandments. The first says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” And the second of the 10 commandments says, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.”
In the book of Luke chapter 16 verse 13 to 15, reading from God’s Word Bible translation, Jesus also said, “A servant cannot serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth. The Pharisees, who love money, heard all this and were making sarcastic remarks about Him. So Jesus said to them, “You try to justify your actions in front of people. But God knows what’s in your hearts. What is important to humans is disgusting to God.”
When we die, we are all going to leave the money in our bank accounts, or trust funds, and so on. We are not going to take it to heaven. This is why Jesus so many times insisted and advised us that we need to spend our money on the things that matters. For instance, instead of going to the night club every night to get wasted, give that money to help the poor, orphans, give it for the gospel to be preached, to a good cause and purpose, charities, help someone who can use it for a valuable thing, do good deeds with it, make the world a better place. And when you do that, you are storing for yourselves treasures in heaven. The Bible mentions, what men highly esteem, God abhors.
In the book of Luke chapter 16 verse 8 to 9, again reading from God’s Word Bible translation, Jesus said, “Worldly people are more clever than spiritually-minded people when it comes to dealing with others. Jesus continued, “I’m telling you that although wealth is often used in dishonest ways, you should use it to make friends for yourselves. When life is over, you will be welcomed into an eternal home.”
Jesus said in the book of Matthew chapter 6 verse 19 to 21 that, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Basically you spend your money on the things that you desire and have in your heart. Just look where your money is going, notice where you spend your money on and you will know what is truly in your heart.
Remember, men make money, and not vice versa. Meaning that when it is gone or it’s not there in our lives, it doesn’t mean we are done, that’s it for us. It simply means we can make it again. And if we trust God and put God first, we can make it without being dishonest, and use it properly as God wants us too.
Men make money to serve them. So it’s up to us to decide every day what is it we want money to serve us for.
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