I humbly dedicate this article in memory of our departed member and Spiritual Adviser, Rev. Shiloh R. Haigh.
When we love someone or something, our thoughts, plans and actions are geared towards, or occupied by, that someone or something. We don’t want to part away with that someone or something, and we literally become “slaves” or subservient to that someone or something. And this makes us temporarily happy.
Do we want to be joyful here on earth and on the next life to come?
Much of our time (I said, “our” because that includes me), is spent acquiring wealth, particularly money and properties, which don’t last and which we can’t bring with us when we depart from this world.
The Lord Jesus Christ related a parable about a certain rich man whose obsession was to accumulate more material wealth, rather than striving for heavenly or spiritual wealth. The parable is vividly related by Jesus himself in this manner:
“16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21 NIV)
Notice the numerous “l’s” of the rich man in planning for material wealth for himself alone.
The Lord Jesus Christ was not teaching his disciples or us not to earn money. Nowhere does the Bible say it is wrong or sin to have money or things that money can buy. It is when money becomes the driving purpose of our earthly lives, and disregarding completely our spiritual lives on earth which should continue eternally with Jesus Christ in the new next world to come that money becomes a hindrance to our spiritual life. For then, like the rich man with his barns or storehouses or bank accounts, we end up pursuing the accumulation of things that eventually will be left behind by us, and our spiritual life becomes barren.
There is another parable related by our Lord Jesus himself about a certain rich man and Lazarus. In this parable, the rich man had no concern about his spiritual life, while poor Lazarus was impliedly spiritually rich. For our better understanding and appreciation, this is how Jesus related it.
“19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades (or Hell), where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
(Luke 16: 19-31 NIV)
There are many lessons contained in this parable, like the reality of hell which is a place of torment; that once in hell, one can no longer transfer to heaven; heaven is a place of comfort; the time to prepare for heaven is now, during our earthly life, NOT after life; our guide is the Bible (The books of Moses and the prophets); no one who dies can come back to evangelize. But for now, let us just concentrate on material wealth and eternal worth.
How tragic to live our entire lives enriching ourselves materially, only to end up with nothing of eternal worth. And if we just live our life accumulating material wealth and entirely disregarding our spiritual life like the two rich men of the parables, our next destination will be in hell.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV).
To paraphrase Jesus’ words, it is much better to be rich toward God than to work for material treasures or wealth which do not last and will be left behind when our earthly life ends (Luke 12:21).
One of our Spiritual Advisers in FGBMFI, Davao City Chapter, Rev. Shiloh R. Haigh, passed away so quickly last May 19, 2013, also his birthday, at age 72. He was the most generous Minister in giving financial help that I have ever known in all my life. Usually ministers and evangelists expect to be given money, but not with Rev. Shiloh - - he gives money lavishly! He was not only a generous BELIEVER but also very dedicated and faithful in his preaching and evangelism ministry.
The lasting monument of his ministry is the establishment of a certain Christian school in Butuan City, Philippines, which is of eternal worth. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…” (John 11:25-26 KJV). His soul is alive and shall return to God, his creator (Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7). He did not love money, but was always ready and willing to part with it to help the needy. Rev. Shiloh’s soul now lives in comfort with Jesus Christ his Savior and Lord. Let us hope to God to meet him there.
(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, May 25, 2013)