When I used to hear the phrase, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” I thought, I’d like to put that to the test. How can having more money really be that bad? Then I won the lottery. Just kidding – this is going to go in a completely different direction.
Money isn’t bad – it’s neutral. It keeps the lights on, it puts gas in your car, and it puts food in your stomach. However, it also funds terrorism, feeds addictions, and bribes decision makers. Currency is just the agreed upon standard for trading goods and services. It’s far easier and keeps me from having to calculate my checking account by chickens and wheat.
Loving money is bad though. If you make 20k a year and love money, it’s worse than the person who makes 20 million and is indifferent to it. Why though? What’s wrong with wanting to be comfortable, drive a nice car and have a nice house? Objectively, nothing.
It all gets down to motivation. (Doesn’t it always?)
Philippians 3:17-19 17 ¶ Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things.
You probably thought I was going to drop the “root of all evil” passage on you. Please don’t underestimate my sneakiness.
The idea is that the folks who walk as enemies of Christ are identifiable by a couple of things:
- First, the thing they worship is their appetite. If you want it, buy it. If it feels good, do it. If it gets in the way, remove it.
- Second, the things that should bring shame and conviction are what they revel in. Their depravity is a point of pride.
- Third, they’ve decided the important stuff is the here and now. God? Later. Eternity? Myth.
By implication, the inverse should be true of the believer. This is where it gets tough, though. A god as my belly? That sounds silly, but how about a rephrase? They worship their desires. And how are things worshiped? With time, adoration, passion, focus, value and money.
God doesn’t care what kind of car I drive. He does care about why I drive it though.
God doesn’t care how many hours I work. He does care about why I put in overtime.
God doesn’t care how much money I give to my church. He does care about why I give it though.
When we’re hungry we eat. That’s usually how the timeline works. What happens though? That satisfaction is temporary. You’re going to have to eat again. If you treat your soul like your stomach, feeding it with things that your income or credit cards can acquire, what will happen? The satisfaction will be temporary. Also, what does your body turn junk food into? Think of the spiritual equivalent.
So if where we put our money shows what we worship, it means we should give more away, right? Not even close. It’s not a bad thing to be more generous and help people out, unless it’s done to buy off God or convince Him that we’re really not cheating.
Again, currency is just the agreed upon standard of trade, instead of trading goods for other goods, so it doesn’t matter how much money we give to God if any of the rest of it is being offered to other gods. Remove currency and it would be like offering sacrifices to God and then walking down the street to offer sacrifices to another god. Seems that was addressed in the Old Testament. How’d that turn out?
Being a good steward of your money has nothing to do with budgeting, saving and lack of debt if any of it is being offered to other gods. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that if you enjoy something it’s bad. God isn’t glorified by miserable people. It does mean that I have to carefully examine the motivation behind what I do with my money.
God doesn’t care if you can technically explain how you’re not worshiping something else. It’s whether or not I am devoted to God.
Money is just a method of worship.
About Jake Harvey: For the past four years, Jake has held a secret security job protecting citizens of Fort Worth. Really, it’s just him riding around in his pickup truck with a shotgun. While driving around, his music choices go from Waylon Jennings to Clutch to TV on the Radio. When he stops at red lights, he is often reminded of his severe dislike of the Chicago Cubs and whining. When Jake’s patrol stops at the local 7-11 to scout out any troublemakers or hooligans, he always has to get a pack of gum and a strong cup of coffee. Jake also spends time studying economic theory, buying books and guns, and resisting the urge to breakdance when he sees cardboard on the ground. You can follow him @jakeharvey6.
*Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue