For most of us, money has more power and a larger role in our lives than it should. We worry about it, think about it, wonder if we have enough of it, hoard it, spend it unwisely, and make it a “god” in our lives. Most people are uncomfortable with money and wealth. Believing that money is “bad” or “good” will make us “happy” or “secure” gets us into trouble. Having a healthy perspective on money and wealth and the processes and activities we engage in: work, business, buying and selling, investing.
What does money mean? Our perspective on money determines in part how successful we are in following God and in our achievements or becoming “successful.” People who struggle to put money in its proper place give it more power and control of their lives. Perspective on money may be distorted to one extreme or the other. One extreme is materialism: Money is the ultimate reward, and the things it provides dominate daily life. Life revolves around acquiring more money, things, and doing whatever it takes to get it and hold on to it. The other extreme is asceticism, in which money and things are shunned. These individuals desire nothing of value and take great pride being “poor.” Focusing on the extremes having it all or having nothing puts money in the place where God should be.
The one true God has given us a different perspective. Money is neither good nor evil. Money is a tool that enables us to do good or evil depending upon who we are as a person. If we are “not right” with God and do not have a healthy relationship with Him, then money becomes an overwhelming issue. Let’s explore what God tells us about money, wealth, success, prosperity, and all that comes with dealing with our financial and spiritual lives.
Some of the most often quoted scripture with regard to money and wealth include:
1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Luke 16:13 (NKJV)
13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
If we expect to have a healthy perspective on money, we must to take control of it! For most people money is an uncomfortable topic. We may dislike dealing with the details and complexity of managing our money; budgets are too “constraining,” negotiating a salary (or an increase) raises our blood pressure and stress level, applying for a loan or looking at our credit card statement are just trials of our financial existence. When we run our businesses, setting prices, collecting payment, and negotiating contracts are challenges that relate to how we value our time, products and services, but even more it is about our view of money.
Think about it: Anything in our life that we have a healthy perspective on, things we enjoy doing, things we understand, things we believe are good, we can deal with appropriately. In our lives we learn to use tools such as computers, cars, hammers, saws, ladders and smartphones. Money, however, is one tool that carries with it a sense of power it is not entitled to have in our lives.
To get an understanding of your current perspective on money, think of the terms you could use to describe money and its role in your life. Does it give you security or independence? Is it a means to fund your church? Is it about status? Does it give you the ability to pursue your education? Is money a burden or a gift? Does it open doors or put up barriers?
The greater your clarity in your current view of money, the easier it will be to lessen the hold money has on your daily life. God created money as a tool to enable us to interact with each other. You have something I need and we agree on a value. I pay you. Then you find something you need and use the money to buy that item from someone else. Money is simply a tool, a means of transaction and exchange. It is neither good nor evil in itself, but it takes on the motives of those involved in the exchange.
Set your heart on God. Put money in its proper place as a tool to get what you need, to supply others with what they need, to support God’s work on earth, and you will find managing your money becomes easier. Educate yourself on the proper management of money through knowledge of budgets, investments, and tithing. When you take charge of your money, rather than it taking over your life, you may just find you have more of it to take care of.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved