You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
There is a popular board game which comes out at every family gathering in many households. The simple aim is for each player to buy up as many houses as possible to rent out to those who land on the site thereby making as much money as they can and bankrupt the other players. Since the ‘money’ used is simply token money and the gain merely pieces on the board, representing houses and hotels, perhaps there is no harm in it. After all, it gets the family together laughing, joking and spending time with one another.
But what does the winner gain? He appears to have made considerable wealth at the expense of his fellow players. That seems a rather sinister, ugly, objective playing on man’s inherent greed and Jesus had something to say about that:
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 NIV
But, although it’s only a game, it reflects real life, doesn’t it? In this materialistic society where it seems the rich call the shots every time, we are all driven to make as much money as we can, if possible to get a job paying more than the present one regardless of the hours that need to be worked, to get on the next step of the ladder where the material rewards are so much greater. But what effect will all those long hours spent working have on our health, our relations with our family or our relations with God? What time will we have to spend with them, to enjoy just being with them? Did you see your first born take his first steps or were you too busy filing a report that had to be in yesterday? Are we really so much better off with more money? Or is it a simple fact that like the winner of the board game what we have gained it is purely an illusion of wealth. The psalmist thought so for he said:
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” Psalm 39:6 NIV
Again Jesus said:
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.” Matthew 6:28 NIV
So God knows our needs and will provide for them. Of course we all need an income that we can live on and it is up to us to do what we can to ensure that those in need are helped to achieve a living wage, wherever they are.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years