Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. – Matthew 6:19-24 NKJV.
Mark Dreier is not as well-known as Bernie Madoff and his fraudulent schemes were not as far reaching, but they were devastating to all those they touched. Dreier’s schemes only reached into the hundreds of millions, whereas Madoff’s were in the billions of dollars. However, they are both in prison now where hopefully they are no longer destroying the lives of the people around them. Dreier is serving 20 years in prison for his fraud. Why did Dreier do it? When asked he said, “I thought it would make me happy.” Of course that’s what so many people in this world think, “If only I had more money, I would be happy.”
Then there are those who have decided to live without money. You can do a search on Google for “living without money” and find them. There are thousands of them, and they have dropped out of modern society as we know it. Daniel Suelo is one of those “living without money.” Nine years ago Daniel simply stopped using money and started living in a cave, literally. Daniel uses a public library computer to write a blog at zerocurrency.blogspot.com and he says about money, “When I lived with money, I was always lacking. Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.”
There are extreme views about money with Dreier and Madoff representing one extreme, and Suelo representing the other extreme. Of course, both views are incorrect if we want to live effectively as Christians. Money is not, in and of itself, evil. The apostle Paul does not condemn money as being evil in his epistle to Timothy instead he says, “…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil… (1 Timothy 6:10).”
Money is a tool which can be used for good, or it can be used for evil. All of the material things that we have in this life actually belongs to God and have been given to us by God. We are stewards of God; we are responsible for the proper use of what we have been given to further the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:14-30).
The way to happiness in this life is to stop being “doubled minded (James 4:8)” by trying to serve two masters as Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Stop trying to gain the world, and at the same time to live for God, because it is not possible to do. Let go of the world and the things of this world, and begin to serve only God. As Paul says to Timothy and to us, “But you, O man of God, flee these things (the love of money) and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith… (1 Timothy 6:11-12a).” Then you will have “godliness with contentment” which is “great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).”
(There are some extreme views about money and happiness. To have peace and contentment in life we must put material things into the proper perspective.)