You're in limited preview mode.

Login or signup for free to unlock more content.

May Your Silver Perish With You

Covet Materialism Idolatry


Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2024-04-24

Scripture: Acts 8:20 ; 1 Timothy 6:9

Author: Neal Pollard


Brian Castner has written an excellent book called Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike. In it, he chronicles the history of the gold rush to Alaska that occurred at the turn of 20th Century.

There had been an economic depression in the 1890s that was just starting to lift around the time reports came out of the Klondike that people were striking it rich way up north. Castner tells of disease, death, and dismemberment from typhoid fever, violence in cities like Skagway and Dawson City and on White Pass and Chilkoot Trails, avalanches, exposure, starvation, and drownings in the white water rapids of Lake Bennett.

They called it “gold fever” because men (and women) with no experience with the elements and no real plan threw all caution and common sense to the wind in order to strike it rich. The overwhelming majority of them wound up broke and broken. 


Peter told a new Christian, “May your silver perish with you” (Acts 8:20). You may remember that Simon the sorcerer was a big shot in Samaria before the traveling missionary, Philip, came to town with the transforming message of Christ. The gospel turned the heads of men and women, including Simon (vv. 12-13). Peter and John come from Jerusalem to impart the miraculous gifts of the Spirit on the new Christians, and Simon was tempted by his past when he saw this (vv. 18-19). Did he see this power as a cash cow or a way to build his already renowned reputation as “someone great” (vv. 9-10)? Part of his sin was the abuse of his money. 

There is more than one way that our “silver” may “perish” with us.

  • Loving it (1 Tim. 6:10).
  • Making it the stuff life is made of (Luke 12:15).
  • Storing it up for ourselves and not being rich toward God (Luke 12:21; Mat. 6:19-21).
  • Making it an idol (Psalm 115:4).
  • Being greedy (Col. 3:5). 
  • Trying to find satisfaction by it (Ecc. 5:10). 
  • Letting it motivate us to do wrong (Amos 2:8; Mic. 3:11; Mat. 26:14ff).
  • Choosing it over wisdom (Prov. 16:16). 

It is said several ways, but God is trying to ensure our spiritual survival. He knows that wealth can become our god when it drives us or becomes our central purpose. He knows that not only is that futile and unsatisfying, but He also knows how destructive such desire is for the other people in the lives of those who are suffering from “gold fever.”

Paul describes it vividly, saying, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

Let’s not perish with our silver or with an unholy pursuit of it! 

A Great Singing Audition Highlights A Tone Deaf Humanity

Grace Spiritual Blindness Idolatry

Source: "America's Got Talent: Madison Baez Taylor, 11, gets Golden Buzzer after singing from the audience" by Claudia Smith, published, June 8, 2022, retrieved 8/5/22

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-07

Scripture: Romans 1:25 ; James 1:17

Author: Illustration Exchange


2022’s Season 17 of the hit TV show America’s Got Talent has seen many highlight moments, not the least of which being a performance by 11 yr old Madison Taylor Baez of Yorba Linda, California. Rather than having a regularly scheduled audition, Madison had been invited by the producers to sing from the audience during one of the breaks from scheduled auditions. Only then was she invited up onto the stage to perform.

She absolutely stunned the audience and judges alike with her rousing, emotionally rivetting rendition of the beloved Christian hymn, Amazing Grace. Madison sang it with authority and passion, as if she believed every word and was celebrating every truth conveyed in the “amazing” lyrics. 

So moving was her performance and her “story,” that judge and former Deal or No Deal host, Howie Mandel, reflexively reached for the Golden Buzzer, assuring young Madison a place in the “live show” competitions and a chance to win the coveted $1 million prize.

Accolades gushed (and deservedly so) from the mouths of the host and judges for the quality of her performance. 

“Incredible!” exclaimed the shows host, Terry Crewes.

'I normally leave during the break, because people do sing.” famed celebrity host Simon Cowell mused sarcastically. “So this is actually the opposite. It actually brought me back into the room.”

"Everybody is going to know your name now young lady," proclaimed Mandel.

Click here for a video of her AGT audition. 



What strong reactions these judges and audience had to this performance! 

Crewes found her performance incredible. Cowell was drawn back into the room by the power of it. Mandel exclaimed that he wanted to be sure that everybody would come to know her name.

Yet one critical component of the performance was left utterly ignored … the very subject of the song itself. Young Madison, as lovely and talented and gifted she might be, was extolling the virtues of the God of the Universe, Who, by His AMAZING GRACE, condescended to become the Savior of the world, to seek and to save us wretched, lost souls!

This was of course, as Simon would say, a talent competition, not a church service. But what a picture of the tone deafness of lost humanity!

But for the fact that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world, the audience and judges would have jumped to their feet, first and foremost, to celebrate, laud, and praise the amazing grace of God that was being extolled. That’s what Crewes would have found incredible! It would have been the message of the song that drew Simon back into the room! It would have been the name of the Most High God which Mandell wanted to ensure was recognized by every man!

While human talent is no less a gift from our most gracious God, its purpose, like any “good and perfect gift” should be to draw our focus to the Lord Who bestowed it.

Grace was showcased side by side with the talent, yet no one noticed the grace.

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:25, ESV).

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV)

Some Things Just Aren't Worth Chasing After

Priorities Balance Idolatry

Source: "California woman falls head first into vault toilet while trying to retrieve phone, requires two fire departments to pull her out," by Harriet Rigby, published, retrieved 4/22/22

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-05-31

Scripture: Luke 12:34 ; Exodus 20:3

Author: Illustration Exchange


Have you noticed how important our phones have become to all of us. We tend to joke that we feel naked if we don’t have them on our person at all times. Some of us have become so dependent on them that we’re willing to go to great lengths (and falls!) to not be separated from them.

Such was the case when a woman recently dropped her phone in an outhouse latrine at the Olympic National Forest in Washington state. 

First, she tried reaching in for it. Then she tried using her dog’s leash to fish it out. When that failed, she dismantled the seat, tried using the leash as a lifeline, and leaned into the hole to dig deeper. And that’s when it happened …

The entire rigging gave way and she plunged head first into the cesspool of waste below. Thankfully, somehow, she found her phone in all that muck and managed to phone 911 for help. But it took two different fire departments considerable time to retrieve her. 

The Fire Department medics cautioned her of the health risks of her exposure and contamination, but she declined treatment, opting to just go home in humiliation.


It seems that that which we love, we pursue, but often to our peril — phones, technology, money, even other people. 

We must stop and ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?” Will pursuit of this priority bring me health and happiness, or danger and destruction?

Life is a balancing act. Phones can be good things, helpful things. Diving into sewage to save one, not so much.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34, ESV).

“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3, ESV).

Interconnected Idols

Idolatry Pride Temptation

Contributed By: Jason Seville | Date Posted: 2019-03-06

Scripture: Colossians 3:5 ; Ephesians 4:22

Author: Jason Seville

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

The God Substitute

Money Materialism Idolatry

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-12

Scripture: Deuteronomy 14:22

Author: James Stewart

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

The Cult of Prince Philip of England

Idolatry False Teachers Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-17

Scripture: Romans 1:18

Author: Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

The Unbreakable Enigma Machine's Weakness

Idolatry Pride Ambition

Contributed By: Tom Johnston | Date Posted: 2015-01-06

Scripture: Proverbs 16:18

Author: Tom Johnston

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

American Idols

Idolatry Object Lessons Youth Sermons

Contributed By: Tara Bertic | Date Posted: 2014-05-08

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

Author: Tara Bertic

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Broken Cisterns

Idolatry Youth Sermons Object Lessons

Contributed By: Tara Bertic | Date Posted: 2014-05-01

Scripture: Jeremiah 2:9

Author: Tara Bertic

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Five Minutes on the Roof of the Earth

Fulfillment Dreams Idolatry

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-15

Scripture: Matthew 16:26

Author: Jon Krakauer/Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or