Money is such an extraordinary entity. It is strange and it is so very very very powerful. I feel like there is so much confusion when it comes to how we see this thing. There has been in my heart and I’m still on a journey to understanding it. And no wonder Jesus teaches more on money than on anything else. It is the source of so much of our hope and joy, our pain and toil. I plan to write a series of posts on it. These posts are a window into my thinking about money that is still developing, so thanks for taking the time to read, and feel free to comment/feedback.
I feel like we are in unchartered territory in the west with money at this point in history. At no other point in history has such a huge emphasis been placed on so many people on accumulating wealth. At least in Sydney, it feels like the whole world is on your back about investing in the right investment property, doing the right thing with your super, share-market predictions and etc.
Anyway I’m going to start by describing a few different kinds of people. All quite extreme in their attitudes towards money. I’ve definitely been in the shoes of these people I’m about to describe to differing degrees.
I want to describe a particular kind of old person – the kind that accumulates wealth for the sake of accumulating wealth. They accumulate and constantly count their pennies, or are constantly check their investment portfolios. It is ironic because money has absolutely no value once a person passes from this earth, and yet this kind of old person will continue to accumulate money not for the sake of giving away, but simply for the sake of having it. They will often refuse to do anything which might give them better quality of life for example – turning on heating for fear of a large electricity bill, or go out for nice meals. They will store up wealth as a security blanket in a fashion that is completely illogical and irrational. This condition that plagues this kind of old person is the kind we are all at risk of having. The absurdity of such thinking and such behaviour is only made more stark when put in right perspective
The other kind of person I want to describe is the kind that hates money. And it will be a poor person who hates money. He hates it because he sees it as what limits him from doing what he wants to do. The buck stops with the amount in his bank account. This is the inherent problem in much of our thinking about money. It is not the limiting factor we think it is. Money can always be earned with time and perseverance. Money comes, money goes, much like water. I am coming to think that time is a more critical resource than money, and yet we rarely are as frugal with our time as with our money.
Back to the poor money hating person: ironically this very same money-hating person is the same person that would be a money-lover if he would have plenty of it. The issue with this person is not that he has or he doesn’t have money. The issue is the idolatry of it in his heart. And the fact that in his heart, his life, his joy is pegged to what he has or doesn’t have. This person doesn’t like to spend money. It also goes then that the one who hates spending it, is the one who loves it. There is a sense in which he loves it for itself. And to the extent he does, he will be miserable.
More to come.