Bishop Timothy Chisala of All Nations Church in Ndola says there is a serious desire for riches among those in elected leadership.
“Today, we have a crisis because the people who we elected have decided to put their interests first. There is no love for the people. There is a serious desire for riches among the leaders we elected. There is no love for the people who need services,” Bishop Chisala says. “Again let me address the issue of a divided Church. Our business is to win souls to Christ. Our business is to preach the good news to those who are perishing, that person who is dying, these are the people we should reach out to. Unfortunately, we have the clergy that are after riches. In the desire for riches, the clergy are worshiping political leaders to get some little coins of silver.”
Bishop Chisala says there is nothing better than to stand and speak with the oppressed.
“Better we are called bad names because we are speaking for the poor. Better to be at the house of mourning than joining the illegal and corrupt parties. There is no joy in leading a Church whose people are suffering while a few are getting rich,” says Bishop Chisala.
“We must guard ourselves against the temptation to idolize money, for this may weaken our faith and accustom us to the deception of meaningless and hurtful desires that lead people to destruction and perdition,” Pope Francis warned against this danger at Mass on Friday morning, 20 September, 2013 in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Pope Francis commented on the Readings of the day, saying: “Jesus told us clearly and definitively, that we cannot serve two masters, you cannot serve both God and money. It just doesn’t work. There is something about the attitude of love towards money that takes us away from God”. Quoting the First Letter of St Paul to Timothy (6:2-12), the Pope said: “Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and deception, and the many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and perdition.”
“Greed,” he continued, “is the root of all evil. Overtaken by this desire, some have wandered away from the faith and are grabbed by many torments. It is the power of money that makes you deviate from authentic faith. It cuts you off from the faith, and weakens you so that you lose it.” Pope Francis pointed to St Paul’s warning that “if anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and doctrine, conforming to true religion, then he is blinded by pride, understands nothing, and is addicted to idle issues and useless discussions”.
“So what happens with money?” the Pope asked. “Money offers a degree of prosperity: you are alright, you feel a little important and then comes the vanity. We have read in Psalm : this vanity comes to you. Vanity that is useless, but makes you feel like an important person”. Vanity, pride, wealth: this is how men in the Psalm are described: those who “trust in their strength, and boast of their great wealth”. And so what is the truth? The truth, the Pope explained, is that “no one can redeem himself, or pay to God the appropriate price. The redemption of a life would be too expensive. No one can save themself with money”, however strong the temptation may be to chase “the wealth of feeling sufficient, the vanity of feeling important and, in the end, pride and arrogance”.
Pope Francis then spoke of the sin that is linked to the greed of money, with all that it entails, in the first of the Ten Commandments. The Apostle Paul tells us to instead strive for righteousness, piety, faith, charity, and patience, in opposition to vanity, and against pride. Indeed “this is the way of God, not that of the idolatrous power that money gives you. It is the road of humility in Jesus Christ, who being rich became poor to enrich us with his own poverty. This is the way to serve God. May the Lord help us all to not fall into the trap of the idolatry of money”.
In Matthew 6:21 we are taught, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
And we are asked: “Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” (Proverbs 6:28).
Love for money is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.
B.C. Forbes once remarked: “The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
Richard Pryor revealed, “There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing you can imagine. Now I struggle for peace.”
In Luke 12:15 we are told, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
In A Bomb Built in Hell, Andrew Vachss wrote, “Stealing to eat ain’t criminal-stealing to be rich is.”
Benjamin Franklin observed, “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
The possession of money is not contrary to a simplified life, but the love of money is. The love of money can never be satisfied. It is a hopeless love that always desires more. It is a wasted energy. And more than that, it keeps us, our attitude, and our actions in bondage. When the love of money is present, freedom is not.
When the love of money is present in our lives, we become different people. The passion for money is a trap that quickly swallows our heart convictions and causes us to engage in behaviours that we would otherwise avoid.
It is said that we can never become greater than that which we most desire. When the acquisition of money becomes our greatest goal in life, we can never become greater than the balance in our bank account. And that’s a shame; we have so many greater things to offer this world.
The love of money causes many to sacrifice their true passions and desires just to acquire more of it. It has truly killed many a passionate dream.
How then do we move beyond the desire to acquire more?
At its core, money is a bartering tool. It saves us from trying to make everything for ourselves.
And because of money, we can spend our days doing what we love and we are good at. In exchange, we receive money to trade with someone else who uses their giftedness to create something different than us. That‘s it. That‘s its purpose. And if we have enough to meet our needs, we shouldn‘t commit the rest of our day to acquiring more.
We know poor people who live in complete contentment and we know rich people who are further from contentment today than when they were lacking. Our possessions do not lead to contentment. Our heart attitude does. And if the love for money limits freedom, contentment is the pathway to it.