Monday, June 29, 2009

The Next Jed Clampett of Lititz, PA

Although money has its advantages it also can negatively affect the relationships we have with others. I guarantee you this. If you suddenly struck it rich…I’m talking Jed Clampett style from the Beverly Hillbillies (next thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire), it would change some, maybe not all, but some of the relationships you have with other people. Many of these changes would not be positive. How can money be a trap when it comes to our relationships? Let me give you just a few ways from the book of Proverbs.

First, money can produce FAVORITISM. Proverbs 14:20 says, “The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but those who love the rich are many.” If you suddenly became the Jed Clampett of Lititz, PA tomorrow, you would be much more popular tomorrow than you are today, don’t you think? More people would know who you are tomorrow than who know your identity today. You would have more people showing you attention tomorrow than showed you attention today. One of the traps of money is that we often show favoritism to those who have more of it. The bottom line truth is that often it is our possessions that determine our popularity.

Second, money can produce FALSE friends. Proverbs 19:4 says, “Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend.” Look at it again…wealth adds many friends. If you became the Jed Clampett of Lititz tomorrow you would get invited to many more parties than you get invited to now. You would get more phone calls and e-mails than you receive now. You would have more people wanting to hang out with you than you do now. The problem is that they would not want to be your friend because of you but rather because of your money. Remember when Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke. When he first got his inheritance he had all kinds of friends, but as soon as his whole loot was wasted on riotous living, it was just him and the pigs. The more money you have the more false friends you will have as well.

Third, money can produce ARROGANCE. The truth is that not only will others treat me different if I suddenly become wealthy, but I will most likely treat others differently as well. Proverbs 28:11 says, “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding sees through him.” Wealth can produce arrogance. We become wise in our own eyes. The more money I have the more I think I have all the answers. The more money I have the more I demand that things get done may way. Often this arrogance that comes with wealth affects the way we treat and talk to others. Proverbs 18:23 says, “The poor man utters supplications, but the rich man answers roughly.” Suddenly I am talking down to others simply because I have more money than them.

Fifth, money can produce HYPOCRISY. Proverbs 13:7 says, “There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has great wealth.” We can probably all think of someone that we have known or maybe know now who puts on a front to make them look wealthier than they really are. Money, or the lack of it, causes us to put on masks. It causes us to be and act differently than who we really are.

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