In the Belfast Telegraph last night there was a review of a new book entitled How Much Is Enough?The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky.
The review started with these observations: 'Four years ago, Lehman Brothers threatened the entire global financial system. More evidence of systemic banking and moral failure emerges every week.' The moral failure to which the reviewer refers is greed and we can see now all too clearly the effects of that greed and the damage it has caused aroudn the world.
Reviewer John Cruddas also commented: 'Our meaning and purpose does not lie in the endless pursuit of money ... It lies in the society of our relationships with family and friends, the places in which we live, and if we are fortunate enough, in convivial work.'
As I read the review, I was reminded of these words from the Bible:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred [AVm been seduced] from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10
I was also reminded of some words attributed to the multi-millionaire John D Rockefeller, who was said to be the richest man in the world at that time. He was asked how much money it takes to make someone happy. His answer was, 'Just a little more.'
Western society has become increasingly materialistic but I think it is really no happier. We all need money to live but wealth and possessions will never bring real happiness.
As the reviewer said, meaning, purpose and happiness are found in such things as relationships, and I would suggest it is to be found preeminently in our relationship with God. In fact God's law is about our relationship to Him and our relationship to others.
Too much of our public discourse is about rights and there is too little emphasis on responsibilities but there is even less emphasis on relationships.