Give Your Money a Job to Do

Date: November 16, 2018

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ Luke 12:20


The woman died all alone at the age of 71. Because she had not seen a physician recently, the coroner was called to determine the cause of her death. “Malnutrition,” was the verdict. The little lady’s weight was only 50 pounds. Neighbors said that she had begged food from them, sometimes going door to door. The local outlet of the Salvation Army knew her. That’s where she had bought her clothes—all second-hand, of course.

The woman didn’t live in Africa or a corner of Asia or Africa. She lived within minutes of gated communities and high rise buildings in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Investigators who came to the place where she lived described it as a veritable pigpen—one of the biggest messes they had ever seen. One inspector said that in all his career, he had never seen anything worse. And as her belonging were searched, two keys to safe deposit vaults in different banks were found.  When they were opened, one contained over 700 AT&T stock certificates along with other stock certificates and financial securities, in addition to over $200,000 in cash.  The second safe deposit held only cash—more than $600,000 when it was counted and sorted out.

CBS news analyst Charles Osgood reported the story, saying that the estate would probably go to a distant niece and nephew, neither of whom had any idea that their aunt, considered destitute and forlorn, had any assets whatsoever.

Yes, of course, you can say this woman was mentally deranged, that only someone who didn’t quite have both oars in the water would live like that with assets so great as those she controlled.  Yet, the fact is, vast numbers of people do much the same thing, only what they do is far more respectable. They live as though they would never die, accumulating vast estates which, ultimately, fall into the hands of greedy relatives whose major concern is how soon can they get their hands on their money.

One of the questions that ultimately must be faced is this: For what purpose has God given me the resources I control? And how do I want what I have spent a lifetime earning to be used when I am no longer here?  Am I content working for a lifetime, amassing considerable resources to be left to distant heirs who never had time to visit but whose phone calls seemed to focus more on “How are you feeling?” as in “How soon will I get my hands on your money?”

Or rather, should my resources be used as a legacy to fight poverty, ignorance, and sickness, and to make a difference in the lives of others?  Many people choose to ignore the whole issue, and by default their resources are taken by the state, or by inheritance taxes, or go to a relative whom they hardly knew.

When Jesus was here, He never wasted words. Yet on occasion He rebuked people sharply, striving to shock them out of the funk that caused them to ignore reality. “Fool,” was the description He used of the business man who spoke of tearing down his store houses and building larger ones. He challenged: “This very night your life will be demanded from you.  And that final question is one for you to ponder: “Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Pity the poor woman who died of malnutrition when she had vast resources. Equally to be pitied are those who ignore the whole issue and never plan ahead. As someone put it, “Do your giving while you are living so you are knowing where it’s going.”  Good advice in any language.


Resource reading: James 4:13-17

Leave a Reply