Gold Prison Bars

The world recently rejoiced when two miners in Australia were freed from the gold mine in which they had been trapped for two weeks. One man had died in the accident, and there had been little hope of rescuing the others. Through determined and creative efforts, however, the two survivors were able to walk from their prison on their own strength.
Some might have flippantly reflected on the ordeal: “What a way to go!” To be surrounded by such enormous stores of wealth, even in its unrefined state, is heavenly for the materially-minded. Never mind that these men had no way to put this gold to work Just the possession of riches brings happiness, many apparently think.
But is that way of thinking correct? Stories that occasionally appear in the news reveal the lie. Those who are fabulously wealthy are not immune from domestic strife, addictions, crime, depression and suicides. The problems of the rich may not be the same as those who are poor, but they do have problems. To be surrounded by gold does not guarantee happiness.
Paul taught this idea. In 1 Timothy 6:9,10 he wrote: “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” (NKJV). If this statement is true, then our cravings for riches (“greediness”) can lead to a kind of imprisonment.
A man named Gehazi confirmed that this principle is true. A servant of the prophet Elisha, Gehazi saw an opportunity for personal gain. After Elisha passed on Naaman’s offer of lavish gifts, Gehazi lied to obtain the gifts for himself. His lies, however, didn’t deceive the man of God, and Elisha pronounced upon him a curse of leprosy for the remainder of his days. Gehazi, through his greediness, pierced himself through with many sorrows. The gold he gained became prison bars.
Then what, if anything, can lead to the happiness we all desire? Paul addressed that question in the passage noted above: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Great gain doesn’t come through wealth, Paul argued. It comes by being godly and by learning to be content with whatever our heavenly father sees fit to give us.
Those two men in Australia are blessed to have escaped their prison. How many more of their contemporaries, though, will never realize their imprisonment? Thankfully God offers rescue for all who see their endangered situation and cry out to him for help!

Share your thoughts: