Written by Jesse M. Kelley – Published in February 1967
…hounded like a wounded brute, Man with all his worldly loot, Is caught at last — by what he chases”
It is a sad fact of human experience that a man can become so intent on satisfying his greed for material gain and possessions that he becomes oblivious to all else. His entire outlook on life is viewed only as it relates to his obsession. “What profit is in it for me” is his philosophy of life. He is the victim of his own greed; what he has and what he desires to have, have become a prison far stronger and more confining than iron bars and stone walls. He views every transaction and every relative duty through the haze of his own selfishness. His covetousness has killed all his finer senses. If God ever occupied anyplace in his life, He has now become a vague, intangible, and impractical “something” that is wholly unrelated to the affairs of life and the destiny of souls. He has truly been “caught by what he chases.”
In his first epistle to Timothy Paul said, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 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.” (6:9,10) When a man becomes discontent with “food and raiment” (verse 8) he will forsake God and launch out into the mainstream of ungodly and unprincipled men to lay claim to “my share” of possessions. After all, “I must provide for my family and our future security.” He forsakes God and sells his soul for a “mess of pottage” to fill his belly, while righteousness, honor, and godliness are trampled under his unholy feet.
I read a story one time about a man who went to Africa in search of diamonds. It is related that he “struck it rich” and was returning home with his hoard of uncut and unpolished diamonds. The ship on which he booked passage was caught up in the grip of a severe storm. It was tossed helplessly and seemingly hopelessly in the tumultuous waves. The story relates that the man became terrified and thinking that the ship would surely sink and he would lose all his wealth, he tied the sack of diamonds around his neck and jumped overboard. The moral of the story is, Did he possess the diamonds, or did the diamonds possess him?
Covetous men are “caught by what they chase.” Their love of money and the things it will buy has become a snare” and they are “drowned in destruction and perdition.”
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus warned, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) When this incomparable truth is applied to the life God will have a man who is worth more to His cause than all the treasures of all the kingdoms of the world. Let us therefore urge you, beloved, to search and seek after those things which are above, “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Your life will be happy and secure, and the life hereafter assured.