Money, Faith & A Satisfied Mind
"Money it's a gas
Grab that cash with both
hands and make a stash
New car, caviar,
four star daydream
Think I'll buy me a
Get A Stash
The sound effects opening Money by Pink Floyd are cash registers ringing and moneychangers jiggling coins together. It captures the mindset that dominates us.
We are continually urged to indulge in the excesses of affluence. The incessant siren call from the advertising industry towers on Madison Avenue is to grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
Consumerism thrives on our accumulation of money and possessions. Though we in the West have perfected it to a near art form, the purchasing of products in excess of basic needs is as old as the earliest civilizations.
Here’s a classic piece of bumper sticker reasoning: Money doesn’t buy happiness. It allows you to look for it in more places.
With tongue in cheek, someone has pointed out: Money is not everything. There are also credit cards, bankcards, debit cards, money orders, certified checks, and traveler’s checks.
Our economy is dependent on the population being actively engaged in the consumption of goods and/or services.
Politicians, always eyeballing the next election cycle, tinker and interfere with free markets by establishing policies and programs designed to motivate us to spend, spend, spend our way out of recession. We respond with enthusiasm because greed and avarice are the twin pillars of the human heart. There’s no doubt that our culture is fueled by the acquisition and free flow of money.
Cecil Rhodes—the British financier, colonizer, and creator of the Rhodes Scholarships—was enormously wealthy. The story is told that one day a journalist said to him: “You must be very happy.” To which Rhodes replied: “Happy? No! I spent my life amassing a fortune, only to find I have spent half of it on doctors to keep me out of the grave and the other half on lawyers to keep me out of jail.”
Pitfalls & Excess
As beneficiaries of freedom, democratic capitalism has given us opportunities to be good deed doers and share with others, but there is a dark side to it that we often treat like the crazy relative living in the basement.
While we enjoy the prizes of prosperity, we ignore the pitfalls of its excesses. The ugly underbelly of free enterprise is that whole industries are completely dependent on tapping into human greed and covetousness.
Which is in direct and constant conflict with Biblical principles, but that is where faith meets reality: We live our lives in direct and constant conflict with an overwhelming desire for more.
Perspective & Treasures
It is crucial for Christ-followers to maintain an appropriate perspective on money, especially since Jesus of Nazareth said: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Or consider the wisdom of some other ancient words from the writer of Hebrews: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
We are to be content with what we have and secure in our relationship with God. That sounds simplistic so we reason away the mysterious nature of God, which prompts us to dismiss invisible spiritual experiences.
As a result, we extend much energy and expense looking for fulfillment in new cars, bigger houses, better toys and the latest gadgets.
Temporal pleasures take precedent over eternal concerns. Regardless of our verbal devotion, if happiness is always to be reached after the next purchase our message to God is that his current provision for us is not good enough.
Our attitude is reflected by how we react when our possessions get lost, stolen or broken. When we can’t get the loss off our minds, or it affects our relationships with others, then our view is off-kilter and we need to recalibrate our outlook.
Possessions are things. No matter how rare or valuable, possessions are inanimate objects, but people are precious jewels in God’s sight so we ought to treasure every relationship.
"How many times, have
you heard someone say
If I had money, I
would do things my way
But little they know,
that it's so hard to find
One rich man in ten,
with a satisfied mind."
Compared to the rollercoaster Stock Market, how's your spiritual portfolio doing?See results without voting
Wealth is not evil. It is no different than any gift of God; it’s potential for good or evil lies entirely in whose hands it rests. The danger is that we can become consumed by plans to acquire or manage it.
Wealth can be like a poisonous snake. It is harmless if we know how to handle it, but if we do not, it will coil up to unleash a lethal bite.
A fervent desire for well-heeled opulence can have dire consequences. Paul of Tarsus observed that “some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
It'd be easy to say that present economic troubles are a direct result of our society's headlong clutch and grab for overdoses of riches. We are to be good stewards of all that God provides, but we are not to become obsessed with material abundance.
It is wrong when much of our time is spent worrying over Wall Street because our goals pertain to income or financial worth.
In all honesty, our response to the fluctuations of the Stock Market is actually a reliable barometer to measure whether we are content with what we have and secure in our relationship with God.
By that standard, how’s our spiritual portfolio doing? No amount of money can acquire a satisfied mind; that can only be accomplished by a properly aligned faith in the One who spoke creation into existence. When our earthly end beckons, our investment in the stuff of eternity will be all that matters.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
- A Perplexing Question
We live in a pluralistic society. In the marketplace of ideas different traditions and points of view compete side by side. Courtesy demands that we respect free expression, but we do not have to blindly . . .
- This Hard Land
This Hard Land is a great song that has a lost and almost forgotten history. Written during the 1982 Born in the U.S.A. sessions it got set aside, only to be dusted off more than a decade later. In 1995, while putting together a Greatest Hits . . .
- What's Up With Spiritual Wealth?
In November 2006, I was sitting at the airport in Delhi, India. It was hot and sticky with lots of flies buzzing around in small swarms. Exhaustion had its grip on me . . .
More by this Author
Helen Keller overcame tremendous disabilities to live a life that was a daring adventure. This essay is an inspirational look at her life, and presents lessons we can learn and apply.
Troubles are part and parcel of life. We all experience hard times that can be described as being rotten. This essay considers prayer and the Advent Season to direct the reader to hope, help and redemption.
Society is fragmented. We divide into tribal camps, and Christianity has proven it is not above the fray. This essay is a reality check for the church, asking the question: When will Christ-followers be obedient and...