Back in the late 1800’s there was a wrestler in Europe known as “Yusuf, the terrible Turk.” He weighed about 350 pounds and was the undisputed champ. In 1898 he sailed to America to take on it’s champ, a man named “Strangler” Lewis. Even though he only weighed 200 pounds he beat much larger opponents by putting them in a choke hold and then pinning them after they passed out.
That didn’t work with Yusuf. The way he was built he had no neck to speak of and the “Strangler” quickly lost. The Turk demanded his prize of $5,000 be paid in gold which he stuffed inside his big belt for safe keeping. On the way back to England the ship sank and Yusuf ended up in the water. The gold in his belt weighed him down and he sank like a rock before he could get into a life boat. His great riches destroyed him. Greed cost him his life. A fool and his money are soon parted.
God, in his Word, warns us against greed and the love of money over and over again. In Matthew Jesus condemns the Pharisees for it. He calls them hypocrites, clean on the outside but “full of greed….” on the inside. (Mt 23:25). In Mark Jesus sets greed right beside many other sins which he says are evil and defile a person. “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.
Jesus gives us a good example of this in the parable of the Rich Fool found in Luke 12:13-21. Jesus was approached by a man who had a dispute with his brother over an inheritance. He wanted Jesus to settle it for him. Instead, Jesus speaks to the real problem. It was greed.
In the parable a man is blessed with such a bountiful crop he knew his barns would not hold it. He decides to build bigger barns and then he’d have it made. He says he will “take life easy, eat, drink and be merry.”
His problem was not in building bigger barns or planning for the future. It was his greed. His heart was set on his possessions and in them he trusted. They are what brought him joy and peace. God was not in the picture. That was his problem. He saw no need to plan for the life to come and standing before the judgment seat of God. He had much in this life but would spend eternity in hell.
One of the dangers we face today is secularism. It is the movement which strips all aspects of religion from one’s life. There is no room for worship, prayer, serving the Lord and others. There is no thought of what will happen when one dies and is judged by the Creator.
Slowly but surely secularism can creep into our heart and lives. The end result we will be lost. Every day, we need to keep our focus on the Lord. Thank him for his blessings. Pray often. Read the Bible and worship faithfully. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Keep your focus on the life to come. Only then will you be seen as wise in God’s eyes. Only then will you be prepared for the day your life ends here on this earth.