A Bed for a Bank

Matthew 6:19-21, 24; Luke 15:8-10; 21:1-4, 16:9; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19

Did you hear about the woman who used her bed for a bank?  Due to some “traumatic experiences with banks” she decided to deposit her money in her mattress.  According to news reports this Israeli woman lost her life savings in a landfill.  On Monday, June 8, 2009, her thoughtful daughter, known only as “Anat”, benevolently replaced the bedding for her beloved elderly mother.  The next morning the woman woke to the woeful realization that “all [of her] money in the world” went out in the trash early that morning.It might surprise you to know that Jesus Christ said more about money than He did about heaven and hell combined.  In fact, He said more about money than any other single topic.  For example, our Lord Jesus Christ told a story about a woman who lost a silver coin and swept her house and searched until she found it, (Luke 15:8-10).  No doubt this woman and her daughter from Tel Aviv will search until they find the missing money.  One website polls people to predict whether they will find the mattress with or without the money.  Another website offers the following potential conclusions for people to choose:  “Anat finds the mattress and most of the money.  Anat finds less than half the money.  Someone else finds and keeps the money.  She doesn’t find the money, unreported, or other.”  If someone finds and returns the missing mattress with almost a million dollars inside she might say, “Thanks a million!”

Jesus recognized a widow for giving all she had, two mites, to the temple treasury in Luke 21:1-4.  Luke as well as Mark records Jesus’ appreciation of this act in his gospel account.

Jesus warns, “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 . . .  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 6:19-21, Matthew 6:24).

On another occasion we read, “Then one from the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”  And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  ‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God,’” (Luke 12:13-21).

Paul the apostle instructs Timothy, his son in the ministry, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

Paul further exhorts, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,  storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life,” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

John Wesley (1703-1791) shares the following in a sermon titled “The Use of Money” based on Luke 16:9, “But let not any man imagine that he has done anything, barely by going thus far, by ‘gaining and saving all he can,’ if he were to stop here.  All this is nothing, if a man go not forward, if he does not point all this at a farther end.  Nor, indeed, can a man properly be said to save anything, if he only lays it up.  You may as well throw your money into the sea, as bury it in the earth.  And you may as well bury it in the earth, as in your chest, or in the Bank of England.  Not to use, is effectually to throw it away.  If, therefore, you would indeed ‘make yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,’ add the Third rule to the two preceding.  Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then ‘give all you can.’”

F. W. Crossley, (1839-1897) “of gas engine fame”, was a committed Christian engineer and merchant from Manchester, England.  Dr. James Rendel Harris (1852-1941) tells of the Crossleys, “It was a household that was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”  An article in The Chemical Trade Journal, Volume 22, January to June 1898, reveals, “Mr. Crossley had taken a very prominent part in many kinds of philanthropic work, and especially such as had a religious bearing.  He was best known, perhaps, for his great and practical interest in home mission work.”  Bible commentator, George Williams, (1850-1928) shares Crossley testified that he gave away almost all of the profits from the sale of his gas engine, “because he daily expected that someone would invent a better engine and so put an end to his power to help others.”

Whether you have a mite or a million, remember this cautionary tale about the unfortunate woman and make the most of your opportunity with money.  Beware the next time you want to use a bed for a bank.

Franklin L. Kirksey
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