His dream had finally come true. The random person to whom he had shown kindness turned out to be a powerful Greek god’s servant (so the fable goes…)
In return for his kindness, he was granted a wish. King Midas had many things he loved in life: his garden, rich food, his wonderful daughter, but above all he loved gold. He never had enough. And so he decided, “I wish that everything I touch would turn to gold.”
Sure enough. He reached over and touched a stone. Bam, instant golden nugget! He touched a bigger rock, then a brick, then the gates to his courtyard. He ran around turning half his palace into gold. He was having so much fun he had forgotten to eat. Midas finally made it to the table, sat down, and popped a grape in his mouth. He bit down and nearly broke a molar. He spat out the grape and a perfectly shaped golden globe rolled across the table. A panic of realization set in. He began to sweat with fear. He reached for his goblet to take a drink and nearly choked on the gold dust he was pouring down his throat. “ What have I done! Greed will be my death!” He sat down, laid his head down on the now golden table and cried deep sobs.
His daughter, hearing his cries, rushed into the room. She always knew how to comfort him. She was an ever-present source of joy in his life. He looked up and saw her approaching, and without thinking, reached out to give her a hug. As they embraced, he heard a sharp gasp, and then felt her body turn hard and cold.
Some would say the moral of the story is to be careful what you ask for. King Midas also learned the hard way that he was worshipping the wrong thing. He loved gold more than anything else. His longing for that false god destroyed the things that were of true significance, like food, water, and his daughter.
Mark 12:30-31 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If you want to experience life at its fullest, to have true life, one must have their priorities in the right order. Gold and money are of some value for sure, but they must never be of higher importance than loving God and others.
Midas realized his ‘Golden Touch’ had become a curse, not a blessing. He begged for the wish to be reversed. The goddess, seeing his contrition, his sorrow over his daughter, and believing he had learned an important lesson that would make him a better King, had pity upon him and granted his wish. He spent the rest of his life sharing his great wealth with the people he was meant to serve.
What are you tempted to love more than God? A possession, a person, maybe an activity? Why?
We are all tempted to worship false gods, to believe that money will bring us joy and fulfillment. God, help us to worship you above all else, to put aside idols and empty loves, and to learn to love you with our whole hearts.