Do You Recognize the Meaning of What You See?
“MONEY by the right means if you can; if not, by any means, money.” So wrote the celebrated Roman poet Horace. His words aptly describe, now better than then, the attitude of a great number of people all over the world.
Do you not agree that there is little some people would not be willing to do for money? Let some recent events serve to illustrate. “Love of money” can cause people to engage in such conduct as the following:
LYING AND CHEATING.
“A number of teachers at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia [Germany] will most probably be called upon shortly to answer to charges of fraud . . . For years they have collected sizeable sums for overtime work not performed . . . also for work done on nonexistent dates, such as on February 30 or June 31 . . . for work performed while on sick leave.”—Frankenpost, June 11, 1979.
“The president of the Milan [Italy] soccer squad, the national champions, and 13 players from several teams were jailed on charges of taking bribes to fix games . . . The complaint charged that the athletes accepted payments of up to $12,000 apiece to lose games.”—Time, April 7, 1980.
“Cuban Americans with relatives on the island converged on Key West from Ohio, California and New York, only to find that their thousands of dollars in cash were still not enough to meet the exorbitant prices. Skippers demanded $1,000 or more to ferry each refugee; charter fees for shrimp boats went as high as $50,000.”—Time, May 12, 1980.
In the United States “deliberately started fires now exceed 100,000 a year, up 400% since 1967 . . . An estimated 40% of arson nation-wide is economically motivated.”—Time, October 31, 1977.
“Parents, friends, neighbors and acquaintances considered all five to be ‘polite, intelligent and obliging young men.’ . . . Yet for several days now, not only the entire German police force, but also Interpol, has been searching for four of them. The reason: They are suspected of having committed five armed robberies of supermarkets . . . and made off with checks and cash worth 2.4 million D-marks [$1.3 million, U.S.] . . . The motive . . . according to police investigations was plain, unadulterated greed.”—Wiesbadener Kurier, July 19/20, 1980.
“As recently as in the 1950’s Ernst Seelig, criminologist and penologist, wrote in his Lehrbuch der Kriminologie [Criminology Manual]: ‘Kidnapping—abduction of humans for the purpose of extorting ransom money, a rather common, almost sportlike gangster method used in the United States, something scarcely conceivable here in Europe.’ But by 1958 this crime with the foreign name ‘kidnapping’ had made its German debut . . . In the five years since the abduction of the supermarket millionaire Theo Albrecht  there have been 15 cases of kidnapping in the Federal Republic, 6 in 1976 alone. The criminals demanded a total of 40,412,000 D-marks [$22.5 million, U.S.] in ransom.”—Stern, January 6, 1977.
“After three days of deliberations a jury in Krems, Lower Austria, has found [a 31-year-old man] guilty of strangling his wife and mother-in-law to death . . . The district attorney claimed that the defendant acted in cold blood and out of financial greed, expecting to inherit the victims’ possessions after the double murder.”—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 27, 1980.
Exceptional cases? You can find similar items in your newspaper.
On the Increase—Why?
Greed has been with us a long time, as the Roman poet’s words show. But today it has taken on new dimensions. Never before has a generation of people had such an abundance of material possessions and comforts. Never before have advertisers been so successful in convincing people that these things are “absolute necessities” for happiness. Money, a requirement for buying, increasingly has become a yardstick for measuring happiness.
Of course, not everyone who works just to make money is a “lover of money.” (Compare 1 Timothy 3:2, 3.) But many persons are. Some love money for the things it can buy, including, they hope, happiness. But other persons’ infatuation with money is more fervent. In fact, the author of the book The Paper Economy claims that for “most of us . . . it is not a means to an end, . . . it is a passion.” Perhaps this helps to explain why crimes motivated by greed continue to increase, why the popularity of television give-away shows remains unabated, and why, even in the face of inflation and unemployment, untold sums of money are squandered daily in private and state-run lotteries and gambling halls.
The Bible warned that “in the last days” people would be “lovers of money” or, literally translated from the Greek, “fond of silver.” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2) But fondness for something other than silver will be necessary if we are to survive the “last days” of this present wicked society. Proverbs 3:13-18 explains: “Happy is the man that has found wisdom, and the man that gets discernment, for having it as gain is better than having silver as gain and having it as produce than gold itself. . . . It is a tree of life to those taking hold of it.”
Keep your eyes open and you will see evidence daily that “love of money” is at an all-time high. (Compare 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.) Obtain at the same time divine wisdom and discernment through a study of the Bible and you will recognize what this evidence really means: that an overly materialistic, money-oriented society in its “last days” will soon be replaced by God’s new system. There love of God and love of neighbor will forever supplant “love of money.”
[Picture on page 23]
LOVERS OF MONEY . . . . . . A SIGN OF THE “LAST DAYS”