Let’s face it – we all like money. Life seems to go so much smoother when we have it. The value of money, however, is found in what it represents – our life energy – our time. That’s why Jesus talked a lot about money and wealth. Even so, he always reminded us that the most important things in life are things money can’t buy.
Jesus and the Buying Power of Money
A wealthy young man came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus told him to obey God’s laws. The young man was a strict law-follower. Jesus told him that he lacked only one other thing – “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).
The man walked away extremely sad. He couldn’t do it because he had too much money. It was just too hard.
Five Things Money Can’t Buy
Jesus’ point was salient: Not only does money not buy God’s favor, sometimes it can even get in the way of spiritual growth. Here are five things money can’t buy.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4)
Character is who you are when no one is looking. It’s the internal drive that forces you to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. Character is Jesus at Gethsemane saying to God, “Not my will but your will be done” (Matt. 36:39).
Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Money might buy a reputation (for a while), but it can’t buy character. In fact, too much money can destroy character.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12).
Patience is not inaction, but rather the ability to calmly depend on God in the midst of furious and unrelenting action.
Patience is the ability to say, “I will do all I can and then wait on God.”
Leo Tolstoy said, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
The Apostle Paul pointed to the patience of Jesus as a key to our salvation –
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:16).
Jesus was eating dinner at the house of a Pharisee when a woman entered and began to wash his feet with her tears. She was poor and had a bad reputation in town. The Pharisee was wealthy and respected.
The Pharisee was suspicious and critical of the woman’s actions. Jesus responded by pointing out that she was washing and kissing his feet because she felt the weight of her forgiveness.
In addition, Jesus pointed out that he was a guest in the home of the wealthy Pharisee and yet the Pharisee had not greeted him with the customary kiss, nor had he offered to wash Jesus’ feet (a customary etiquette). [This story is found in Luke 7:36-50].
Wealth and reputation cannot buy manners. They come from years of practicing good and decent behavior. They come from parents who know the value of the way we treat others.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
Jesus was tempted to go against God just like us, but never gave in (Heb. 4:15). He lived the only perfectly moral life. And he calls us to strive for that same high standard. We will never reach it. However, the world will be a better place for our striving.
Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). And he defined perfection – the moral life – as this: Love God and love each other (Luke 10:27).
Living a moral life means that you love God with all your heart and you consider Him and others in everything you do. Money can’t buy that.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Money might buy friends (until the money runs out) and fancy neighbors and people who follow you (an entourage), but it can’t buy love. Never has, never will.
Love is the most important thing in life (1 Cor. 13). It is the most powerful force in the universe. Money can’t even come close to buying it.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with money. I happen to like it. But, Jesus taught us that there are a lot of things that money can’t buy. These are the first five that come to mind. I’m sure you can add to the list!