Posts Tagged 'kingdomw'

Musings on Money: A non-comprehensive compilation of recent thoughts

We all know money doesn’t make you happy.  Or at least most of us know that.  It is said that money reveals who you truly are inside.  Money gives you options.  Options to possess things.  Some things good, some things superficial, some things questionable at best.  A new car, health insurance, new jeans, hair product, groceries, diapers, college funds, bills, a house.  But health insurance doesn’t give you health any more than new jeans give you good friends.  Having a degree doesn’t mean you’re  truly educated just like paying your bills only gives you freedom for 30 days.

We need money to survive.  God knows that.  And we all know money won’t make us happy, but we all tend to act like it will.  We generally make decisions in life that will lead us to more money, assuming we’ll be content when we have more money.  Considering that progression, why don’t we just choose to be content first?  Choose to be happy first, then make our money decisions.  Shape our money decisions around the truth instead of making our money decisions in spite of truth.  This way of thinking would seem to make more sense to me.

But instead of choosing this way, we most often throw our best efforts and energy into winning a race that doesn’t matter.  We bring no possessions into this life and we take no possessions out of it.  Only what you do for Christ will last.  Jesus said not to lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and the thief can steal, but to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  This is a truth that most Christians profess.

But time and life have a way of lying to us.  The longer we are here, the more we believe we belong here.  The more we believe we belong here, the more we behave like this life is the means and the end.  And the more we live like that, the more we tend to play off Jesus’ words about money as allegorical– or as if the truths they contain are meant for others and not for us.

We rob the gospel of its power when we act as though Jesus didn’t mean what he said.  We rob the Christian life of its witness when we live as though all we are living for can be found here on earth.  As believers, we are called to look toward our eternal inheritance; to recognize that this world is not our home; that we are passing through.  In fact, Paul said that Christians who aren’t looking forward to eternity are the most miserable people on earth (I Cor 15: especially verse 19).

Only one passion can fuel the human heart.  Vying for two passions is like cheering for both teams in a competition:  when the games ends, you’re not sure if you won or lost.  It’s like trying to run in two races at the same time headed in opposite directions.  Jesus said that No one can serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and Mammon (mammon being the god of money.)  We have to make a choice.  This is the truth, and the reason it stings is because truth pierces.  Truth divides.  Truth separates between what is true and what is a lie, what is the light and what is dark.

What am I saying?  Is it wrong to be rich?  Is it wrong to have money?  By no means.  I am saying that Jesus says it’s about as difficult for a rich man to enter heaven as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.  I’m saying that when we make decisions, we should choose God.  If he gives you money, great.  If he doesn’t, it’s still great.  Paul said he learned to be content with much or with little.  (“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13)

Also, what I’m saying is that if you’re reading this, the odds are that you already are rich, myself included.  We’re probably both very rich in the global sense of the word.  Let me give a few examples.

  • You’re educated enough to read
  • blessed enough to have a computer/access to the internet
  • if you have a car, you are among only around 8% of people on earth who own a vehicle
  • if you have access to potable water today, you’re doing better than at least a billion people today in that aspect
  • are you in an air-conditioned room
  • do you have electricity
  • the average annual income of Kenyans is $353, less than one dollar a day; but a decent job for a college student would make more than that in a week
  • should I mention the people who died of hunger today (1 person every 3.6 seconds)

You are rich.  I am rich.  We are rich.

What am I saying?  Choose God.  Don’t just make him the first choice in a list of priorities.  Make him the only choice.  The only way to serve god and money is if you’re serving Mammon (the god of money); and that’s no way to spend your life.  You’re going to be at the end of your life one day, and you’re going to say either something like this :” I spent my life on things that count, I spent my life on Jesus.”  Or something like this: “I wish I had lived my life more fully for God and chosen him in everything.”

I heard of a man who had a great heart for sacrifice and giving.  He had an acquaintance who asked him, “Don’t you think you’ve ever given too much?” to which the man quickly replied, “Do you think you’ll still ask me that when we’re dead?”

I’m saying we’re rich, both in the kingdom reality and in the reality of our broken world.  How can our world ever see the eternal hope we have in the kingdom if we live our lives as if the real goal is the temporary riches our broken world has to offer?  I want to recognize I am blessed, but I also want to be a good steward.  With knowledge comes responsibility.  Jesus put it this way: to whom much is given, much is required.  If I claim to be a follower of Jesus, I want to do my best to live like I believe what he said.  I want to do my best to close the gap between what I believe and how I behave.  I want to declare the message with my mouth and demonstrate it with my life.  Let’s do that!…. or at least take our best stab at it!