If the Love of Gold Controls the Life Naught but Poverty of Soul Can Result.
THE LESSON—That while wealth, honestly earned, may be a blessing, the life devoted to the getting of riches cannot hope for true happiness.
The Scriptures do not condemn the possession of riches, but they do have some strong things to say against
"The Bible has a good deal to say about rich people and poor people. Solomon, it seems, thought it best to be neither poor nor rich, for he wrote, 'Give me neither poverty nor riches," and I believe that this sentiment would be that of most of us. At any rate, the richer he got, the farther he went from God. But we must have money—enough to meet the needs of our lives. We need it for the buying of our food, our clothing, our homes, our books and in a thousand other ways. But I hope that none of us will ever reach the point where the governing principle in our lives will be to get money for money's sake.
"Money-madness seems to be the dominant characteristic of many people. They appear to think that wealth will gain for them all that may be desired to make life happy. We might illustrate the thought by saying that they sow or plant their money and hope that it will bring forth a fruitage of the blessings for which they long. [Draw the bag of money, the earth line, the stalk of the plant and the outline of the foliage, all with black.] And what do the possessors of riches expect as a harvest in return for the sowing of their wealth? First, let us put down Pleasure. [Put in the word Pleasure, using red for the lettering.] And they expect to be leaders in smart society, so we will add to the list Social Prestige. [Add Social Prestige.] They expect their associates to be impressed with the evidence of luxury in their palatial homes and in all they have and do. So we will add Luxury to the list. [Add Luxury.] And through it all they think they will possess that degree of satisfaction and contentment which we call comfort, so we will add this to the list. [Add Comfort.] And, finally, let us add a word to indicate that element which the wealthy sometimes possess in a worldly sense, representing their ability to direct the happiness or unhappiness of those who are less fortunate in their possession of worldly goods. That word is Power. [Add Power, completing Fig. 21.]
"Here, then, is the picture of the result as longed for by the possessors of riches, whose lives are devoted to the attainment of things of this world alone.
"But, alas, how often are bright hopes shattered! 'He that maketh haste to be rich,' says Solomon, 'shall not be innocent.' A glance at the daily paper tells us how true it is that when the love of money takes possession of the heart, pleasure is driven out. How often, too, does the aspiring social leader find himself outrivalled in the foolish race, and social prestige vanishes. And with such experiences as these, the home of wealth loses the longed-for luxury, comfort and worldly power. And what has come to take the place of these which were only dreams? [With the broad side of the black crayon fill in solidly the portions of the foliage area, leaving only the word Sorrow. Add the words, "The love of money is the root of all evil," completing Fig. 22, which shows the root and the trunk of a tree that looks more like the tree of death than "The Tree of Life."]
"Such is too often the result of the love of money, which, as Paul tells us, 'is the root of all evil.' But, happily, there is another side to the matter. Many of the wealthy of the earth have blessed and are blessing mankind and in return are themselves blessed. In harmony with the thought, Dr. VanDyke says: I do not mean to say that the possession of much money is always a real barrier to real wealth of mind and heart. Nor would I maintain that all the poor of this world are rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. And if some of the rich of this world (through the grace of Him with whom all things are possible) are also modest in their minds and ready to be pleased with unbought pleasures, they simply share in the best things which are provided for all.'
"None of us may ever be rich in earthly possessions, but even the strife after the money necessary for our actual needs may shut out our vision of the things of greater value. Let us always hold fast to that which is good, remembering always that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.
"Let us put out of our lives all envy, all jealousy, all desire for the artificial, and learn the lessons of humility, patience, confidence and good cheer which are all about us if we but turn our faces and our hearts toward them."