Imagine if you will, a society foreign to our own, where money has been banished from daily life. There is no medium of exchange and the populous is removed from working in a once thriving economy to one of simple barter. That is until someone discovers that, for whatever reason you can imagine, since from the inception of this story you have already been imagining things, that drill bits have been found to be of particular value in this now overly simplified economy.
But drill bits, though valued as highly as they are, are not necessary for daily use in whatever process it is that makes them of such sublime value. But necessary, more generally, they are. Some certain persons began to worry that, at some particular point in the future, they might be in need a of drill bits and find themselves without. They began to be more diligent in the pursuit of drill bits, even resorting to drill bit hoarding, and hence a new currency economy emerged, revolving around (and around and around…pun fully intended) around drill bits.
It absolutely must be shared also that in an adjoining province, the necessity of drill bits was all but nonexistent. Seeking after drill bits and especially hoarding them would have been utterly nonsensical. However, in that adjoining culture, hammers…yes, hammers…were the cat’s meow. If one were, over time, able to collect a multitudinous collection of hammers, that one was not only believed to be secure, in this second tool-based economy, for life, but was generally also widely considered wise and to be admired. Some even began to have their higher quality hammers plated in silver and gold (which were oddly overly abundant) and the handles bedecked with the emeralds, diamonds, and rubies that could be found lying about the fields.
Needless to say, the pursuit of drill bits and hammers took on a life of its own. Some even believed that somehow, mystically, drill bits and hammers, obviously in each respective province, bestowed favor on their possessors. Drill bits and hammers became objects of great desire,…pursuing them, owning them an obsession…to the degree that one might even call it worship, in that many individuals, and whole classes of citizens, committed themselves entirely to the pursuit and exchange of drill bits and hammers. Special storage facilities were created with heavy vaults to keep these precious tools secure and the practice instituted of lending drill bits and hammers to those who might find themselves in need of them but also finding themselves, in that particular moment, without any drill bits or hammers.
The obsession with drill bits and hammers grew enormously popular, to the point that some found themselves unable even to borrow drill bits or hammers because some few in society hoarded so many. For those without, life became a struggle again since drill bits and hammers had become the currency of choice, and the society began to be divided, between those with drill bits or hammers and those without drill bits or hammers, due to the obsession of the With’s. Bitterness ensued and society became less and less congenial and more and more disillusioned and all manner of accusation and divisiveness and muttering was heard daily at the too often barren hardware stores.
Ludicrous as this story may be, I hope it has become obvious that the love of drill bits or hammers supplanted not only a balanced, enjoyable society but unbalanced the minds of the With’s as their obsession overtook social sense.
We are wise to remember that money is just a tool that, like drill bits or hammers, can be used to good purpose for the interest of society or ill-abused to hedge against the fear of falling into poverty or to serve the self-aggrandizement and ego of its possessors. But how odd that we find it ludicrous, the idea of, in effect, serving, that is worshiping, the cause of drill bits or hammers, simple tools, while spending our lives, our relationships, and too often even our health, in the pursuit of money above living in righteous community the way God desires.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24