Follow the Money

September 11, 2020

1 There were indeed false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved ways, and the way of truth will be maligned because of them. 3 They will exploit you in their greed with made-up stories. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.

2 Peter 2:1-3

Written by Phil Byerly from the Brentwood Campus

“Follow the money” is a popular phrase today that was introduced in the 1976 documentary drama, All the President’s Men. The phrase was used by an informant who suggested that truth could be brought to light by examining money transfers between parties. I’ve also learned, after watching many investigative crime shows, that investigators often start by following the money trail of the victims’ and suspects’ bank accounts, money transfers, life insurance policies, debts, and so forth. They are well aware that money is the number one motive for crime.

I’m personally inclined to see the good in people and to assume positive intent in their communications and actions. Yet today’s scripture very clearly warns us to also watch out for the bad in people—particularly their greed. The love of and desire for money can quickly lead people to self-deceit and destruction, and when it does, they will shamelessly take you with them. Greedy people are slick and deceiving. They will makes up stories to keep you feeling naively positive about their intentions.

If you’ve lived life long enough, you know this scripture speaks the truth. Either you’ve had a direct personal experience of being deceived, or you have a friend or family member who has been taken advantage of in this way.

God’s Word, prayer, and a handful of faithful friends or family can protect us from these deceptive schemes. The book of Proverbs in particular reminds us to be on the lookout for liars. There is also power in prayer, so ask God to open your eyes to the truth around you. Lastly, there is safety in numbers. Listening to the warnings of friends, family, ministers, counselors and so forth can protect us where we might be blind.

We live in a broken world, and unfortunately there are plenty of greedy people to be on the lookout for. If a relationship or a decision you’ve recently been thinking about is not feeling quite right, seek God’s counsel, investigate—and follow the money.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. We all have felt taken advantage of or led astray at some point in our lives. Teenagers, young adults venturing out on their own, and elderly can be especially easy prey. Be willing to mentor and be an advocate for high-risk people.
  2. Savvy, greedy people love times of distress like 9/11 and our current pandemic. Pray today for our leaders, and seek God for wisdom to advise those He brings into your sphere of influence.
  3. The love of money is a very powerful tool in Satan’s arsenal. Have you ever found yourself becoming greedy? What did you do (or what are you doing) about it?

Family Activity

Two Truths and A Lie
Explain to your children the premise of this game is to identify a lie from the truth. Begin with a practice round sharing two obvious truths and one obvious lie that the whole family will know is a lie. Once the practice round is done, give everyone a few moments to think of their two truths and a lie. Take turns allowing each family member to share all three at once. The family then votes on which one of the three statements was the lie. Once everyone has participated, explain that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true. Because God’s word is perfect, we can know that everything it says is true. The Bible doesn’t lie. Read John 14:6 aloud and share that regardless of what the world says, the one and only way to a saving relationship with God is through Jesus.

Missions Prayer
Did you know every people group in the world has about the same percentage of deaf people? The deaf are some of the most marginalized and ignored peoples across the world. Pray for deaf people to have access to the gospel; 15% of our church family’s global worker force works to reach the deaf.

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