"Look to your health: and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience: for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of. a blessing that money cannot buy". - lzaak Walton
These are words of wisdom and none would question their validity. But there are times when people do value money over health. When a person has been deprived of a thing for too long, he longs for it: and as money is the commodity most in demand people want money to fulfill their needs. It can help rent or build a house. It can buy medicines, clothes, fruit and food: it can pay for the small pleasures of life as well as the big ones - from a cup of tea to a holiday abroad. Aesthetic and cultural enjoyment - tickets for the latest play, an evening at the opera, an expensive book, the latest L.P. - all these money alone can buy. There are far too many things which are out of the reach of the middle and the working classes. A good education, expensive sports and games like skating and golf, traveling in comfort, owning the gadgets which add comfort to life - these are things which people with limited incomes cannot buy. The unprecedented unemployment of the thirties was responsible for a great deal of human misery and resulted in the loss of self-respect and dignity. It also forced people to recognize the worth of money and resulted in a disproportionate attachment to the material world.
There is no denying the value of money and the pleasure of enjoying it: but there are basic issues involved. If money can be got only after a huge amount of sacrifice, is it worth it? Is it really necessary for human beings to go on increasing their needs and temporary pleasures? Or would it be wiser to impose a self-restraint on one's needs? People get so busy in getting money that they forget how to enjoy it. Engaged in getting money, man has no time for his family or his friends and at times no time even for his health. On the other hand, the pursuit of money may adversely affect both his physical and spiritual health. He may overcome his initial scruples in his desire for power and money. The question then is how much evil is justified to get to the good.
If one has to choose and even if there is no choice, health is better than wealth. A healthy person can look after not only himself but also others. He can be a useful member of society and of a family. He can be generous and sympathetic and be constructive in his thinking. An ailing person whether man or woman is a drain on others. And money can buy medicines, pay for a visit to a health resort or long hospitalization but it can neither buy health nor happiness. It is immaterial that a man can buy an expensive pair of shoes, if he has no shoes. Ultimately it is equally irrelevant whether a man is dressed up in the most expensive clothes, or drives the latest model of an expensive car. What is important is how good a human being he is. And for this he needs health. If he is healthy, his whole approach to life will be governed by this factor. Ask a man who has been through a long illness and an equally long spell of poverty and he will chose health. Money is the value of the man-made world - not of the world God created. Health is a god-given grace and let us be grateful for it.