We live in a rabidly commercial and materialistic society.  Today”s “heroes” and role models are the rich and famous.  Bling is the thing.  Corporate fat cats and the Wall Street bankers are idolized, emulated and above the law.

So what do we make of such sayings as, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and “a fool and his money are soon parted”?  Are these the words of losers; those that don’t have what it takes to “make it” in this world?  What is the rebel Jesus talking about when he says, “the first shall be last and the last first”?

If Jesus was anything, he was anti-establishment.  His ideal world was the one within, not without.  He taught and lived servanthood.  He literally owned only the clothes on his back and refused to seize political or military power.  He baffled the power brokers when he told them they must be “born again.”

To him, the world we live in, and all too frequently love, was upside down.  He saw ownership and possessions as roadblocks to joy and happiness.  He perceived that people don’t own things; things own them.  He understood that the ego required to build great wealth would slow kill one’s very heart and soul in the process.  He also understood the prison of self love and greed and that without a “new heart and right spirit” mankind could never be free and have peace.

Jesus told a story about a rich man who spent his entire life building a fabulous fortune, but due to an unexpected sudden death, he never got to enjoy any of it.  He remarked how sad and futile it was, and that in the end, his great wealth went to others.  I knew of such a businessman with a net worth of fifty million dollars who could never be satisfied because he had associates who were worth two hundred and fifty million.  He was addicted to a lifetime of empire building until he suddenly fell dead one night at a concert he was attending.

“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”

To be continued….