The Woes of Wealth
Maryanne was an exotic woman with the looks and airs of a gypsy. Her long black hair waved down her back, and her deep brown eyes steamed with love towards her husband, Jake, my brother.
She originated from a wealthy family, and she was proud of this fact. Her father owned a prosperous tool and die shop. Maryanne was most comfortable with high-class people, expensive clothing, and exquisite jewelry. She gravitated toward high-class stores and could smell a bargain a mile away.
Maryanne didn’t even attempt to fit in with our middle-class family; she dominated it. At family gatherings she was always the center of attention. Her presents to others captured the most attention; her banquet dishes were most admired; and any new outfit she wore was highly complimented. I always felt like a dolt in her extravagant shadow. And, she enjoyed making me feel that way. I remember crying many times on my way home after an encounter with Maryanne.
Mistakenly, I thought since we were sister-in-laws that we could be friends, but she didn’t want anything to do with me. Once I asked her if Mom and I could come for a visit. On the phone she seemed pleasant, but when we arrived, she was rude. Even though we planned the visit, she never offered us a drink or a cookie. She practically pushed us out the door. Concisely, she placed herself above all others; she was arrogant and indignant. She even had a habit of sticking her nose up at people. I blame riches for her behavior.
God’s gift and high-class taste helped Maryanne develop a brilliant talent in art. She could sew, reupholster, and decorate like a master. Her home was unique and artsy, and her gardens were strategically arranged. I truly did admire her artistic gifts.
Eventually this talent led to employment as a window dresser in the upper-class department store. She had been married 25 years, raised a family, and had a beautiful home – the All American Dream. It was time for a career.
Maryanne dove into this job with the intensity of an Olympic swimmer. Her rapid success amazed her husband, children, and family. At work beautiful clothes, expensive jewelry, and all the things that Money could buy surrounded her. And, she bought them. Unfortunately, her success escalated her sky-high ego, and she felt superior to the average Joe.
One day Jake came home from work. The house was emptied of all furnishings, mementoes, and tools. Only one thing remained – a note from Maryanne. It said that it was time to part, and he should contact her lawyer. Maryanne, who once loved Jake dearly, left him high and dry. Her promotion to another state, her overblown self-esteem, and her love of riches led her to abandon her husband and family. Jake was devastated! He has gone through a healing process, but he will never forget what the love of money can do. They are divorced, and I never discovered Maryanne’s fate.
Although Maryanne is a 21st century person, people of all times have loved money and sacrificed their scruples for it. Consider the young ruler of the Bible (Mark 10:17-22 NKJ) who approached Jesus. He was young and wealthy, and he respected Jesus as a great teacher. He appears to be a nice, wholesome man, who tried to please God by obeying the Ten Commandments. He asked Jesus what he should do to obtain eternal life. After all, he had everything else.
Jesus looked at him lovingly. The ruler was dressed in all his finery, and his youth made him seem naďve and innocent. Yet, Jesus reply struck him to the core of his soul. . . . “sell whatever you have and give to the poor. . . take up the cross and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21 NKJ)
The young ruler was saddened by this request. He would rather have riches than eternal life. Maybe he thought the road to heaven would be easy, or maybe he thought it could be bought. Whatever, he could not part with his riches and follow Jesus.
I think we all admire people who have riches, but riches can cause a bloat of the soul and greed for more. Money won’t get your way to heaven; only the blood of Jesus can obtain salvation. To have a loving relationship with Jesus is more precious than all that Money can buy.
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