A few days ago my friend Terry (happy birthday Terry!) handed me page 53 photocopied out of a book called "The Nature of Earnestness" and I knew I was in for either a ludicrous example of bad theology or an interesting take on something we'd talked about before or perhaps never considered. (Those are generally the reasons we pass stuff like this around.) What I got was the latter. His explanation to me later was that he thought it might interest me since I'm a) prone to rambling off about the evils of hoarding weatlth, and b) fairly engrossed in academia right now. Here's the paragraph:
There are a few things more important than the right appreciation of learning. There are some who spend their whole lives in acquiring it, in amassing hoard upon hoard; as if it were the object of life to try how much may be got in a given time; not how much good may be done with it, or to what uses it may be turned as it is acquired. It is get, get, get; all getting and no giving. This is of a piece with the mania by which some are possessed in the mercantile world, the mania of money-making: with whom life's problem is, how they may die rich, how much they can be worth in the world, before the moment comes when they must leave it.
There is one material difference between the two cases; and, strange to say it is in favour of the rich rather than of the learned man. The rich man leaves his amassed treasures behind him; so that, although to himself they have been of little use while he lived, and now are of none, they are not lost; others may use them, and use them well. But he who has been acquiring learning all his days without expending it in its appropriate uses, leaves nothing behind him. He carries all with him. There is no bank for deposits of learning, as there is for lodging silver and gold. So far as his fellow-men are concerned, therefore, the money-hoarding miser does most good.
I don't know who the author is and apparently the book isn't all that good, but it was an interesting thought, so I thought I'd share it.
Of course, I disagree with a great many of its suppositions (which I will post in the comments, if you want to read them), but still, a decent idea in there somewhere, so I'll leave the post at that.