By Ken Yates
We have all heard the saying that money cannot buy love. I think the basic meaning of the phrase is that if we try to gain the affections of another person, we cannot do it by showering that person with gifts or money. The other person will simply use you. He or she will act like he loves you but really all he is doing is looking for more financial benefits for himself.
There is, of course, a lot of truth in that statement. But there is another way of looking at it. There is a way in which money can indeed buy love. Perhaps we cannot make another person love us with money, but we can use money to produce love in ourselves.
Let me give an example. When I was a teenager, I started following the University of Kentucky basketball team. When I first heard about the team, I didn’t know a single thing about them. The team was unknown to me. I couldn’t name a single player.
However, as time went on, I spent money following them. I would buy their merchandise. I would buy tickets to see them play. I would make the financial investment to travel to other cities for games. I would also spend the time needed to do all of these things.
All of these things caused me to fall in love with Kentucky basketball. Even though it was dumb, and nobody on the team even knew who I was, I could tell you the name of the players. I could tell you stories about them. I knew which ones were drafted into the NBA. When it was game day, I would count the hours until the start of the game. When the season was over, I would experience sadness knowing I wouldn’t get to watch them play for about six months. But the sadness would be lessened by the fact that I could follow who the team was recruiting for next year. I must admit it is embarrassing even to admit these things!
No doubt, a major reason I loved Kentucky basketball is because of the money and time I spent on it. I was in an unhealthy relationship. But fortunately, we are now divorced.
In the last couple of years, I have really soured on sports of all kinds. The political correctness and racial divisions promoted by sports have turned me off to them.
This is true for my previous love of Kentucky basketball. I did not watch a single game last year. I couldn’t tell you who is on the team or whom they are recruiting. I wouldn’t care if they canceled the season or even if they never played another game. This is after over 40 years of marriage!
At the same time, I don’t spend a dime on hem. I told my family members not to buy any more Kentucky t-shirts or any other merchandise. I certainly won’t buy any tickets or travel to any games. I also don’t spend a minute of time watching them on TV or wondering how they will do in the upcoming tournament.
In other words, there was a direct correlation between the money I spent on them and my love for Kentucky basketball. Certainly, it is true that if you want to love something, invest in it.
The Lord said the same thing. In Matt 6:21, He said that where you treasure is, your heart will be as well. To put it in very simple terms, what you spend your money on is what you love. Of course, we could say that you spend your money on what you already love. We love something first, then we spend our money on it. The Lord’s point may be, in part, that if you love the world to come, you will spend your money in a way that reflects that.
A Calvinist would say this love is automatic. He would say that all believers love the kingdom to come. As a result, all believers also spend their money and time on the kingdom as well. Of course, Free Grace people know that is nonsense. All believers do not automatically love the Lord or His kingdom, and all believers do not invest in that kingdom.
But I think there is another way to look at this. Suppose we are having a difficult time loving the world to come. Suppose we find ourselves prone to focusing on the things of this world. Couldn’t the words of the Lord be a practical cure for this? Invest your time and resources in things related to His coming kingdom. What you will find is that you will come to love the appearing of that kingdom more and more. Your heart will follow where you invest. I may not be able to buy the love of others. But it can help change what I love. In that sense, money can buy love.
Ken Yates speaks for GES all around the world. His latest book is Hebrews: Partners with Christ.