In the Bible, Jesus talked about money more than sin, heaven, hell, or any other topic. Proverbs spends more time talking about money again, than anything else. Money is a blessing and a curse, depending on your view of it and how you use it.
Money should never be accumulated for the sake of money. It is a tool, and like all tools should be treated as one. I think most of us have a problem with that. We want that nicer car or that fancier home, a better wardrobe or the upscale vacation. Money is essential to a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, but it is not a goal in itself. People can get confused on that point.
Money is used as recognition as a sign of a higher level or skill at a particular job, a recognition for a job well done, payment for hours spent in the employ of another. All these are fine things. One also obtains monies by dabbling in the illegal, activities that hurt others such as prostitution, drugs, thievery, and a host of other inappropriate things. There are day traders who play the stock market all day hoping to come out the big winner. All too often they either break even or loose. Fortunes and made and lost in the stock market and inside trading is not as uncommon as one might thing all in the name of the almighty dollar.
There is a price on everything from food to medicine, from a person’s time to a person’s life. Yes, there is truly slavery in this world, in this country, the USA, in every country. But what I am talking about is the value an actuary will put on a person’s life. If an individual is in the beginning of their 20’s there is a higher value on their life than on the life of a baby or a retiree. A baby has unproven potential, a retiree has used up his or her potential thus when settling a wrongful death suit, it matters little how loved or how important to you Grandpa Jack was, he wasn’t worth what Young Ben, age 26 and an up and coming stock broker was. In today’s world, everything is broken down into dollars and cents.
Knowing this, it is easy to forget that money is but a tool, not a goal. In the Book of Proverbs, it talks about wisdom and who wisdom should be valued:
“Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Money is often wasted because people do not respect it for what it is, use it foolishly, and fall victim to those who would take advantage of that fact. The most common form we see today is in the form of usury, payday loans that charge one thousand percent per day, and once you have taken out two or three or four of these, you are working to pay the usurers, not the electric bill or the power bill, or to put food on the table.
Why does Jesus and the Bible put so much emphasis on money? You would think it would be on heaven or such. Money tends to be the root of so much sin. You either sin trying to get money, or in keeping it or wanting what it can buy. If you do not use wealth or money as the tool God intended it will be a cause of great strife and grief and upset.
Let’s take a look at the rich man. Remember the rich prince who came to Jesus and said he had kept the ten Commandments and wanted to know what else he must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Do you remember what Jesus said to him? He said, “Sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me. ” The young prince hung his head and left. You see, Jesus knew his sin, he could not give up his stuff . He did not have the faith that He would receive enough to keep him content from God.
I wonder, are we like that? How often are we down to our last hundred or twenty or ten and see a need before us, but stop because we better keep it until payday? True, we may make it by a hair, or God may see a need we have and meet it. Perhaps that need will show up in a week or a month or a year and that is when He will meet it.
There was a lady ahead of me in the supermarket one night before Christmas. She had a baby, maybe three months old with her. She was short nine dollars and change. As a retired couple, and me having no understanding of money (why can’t you spend it twice?) I studied on my wallet trying to be grownup and responsible. She was at her wit’s end. The “me” part of me took over and when I got up to the cash register, I told the girl to put the nine dollars and change on my ticket. My only regret was that I had not done it sooner, before she got so upset. I was not after recognition or thank you, I remembered being with my boys when they were little and trying to handle everything with them. Then too, it was Christmas. I ran into her in the parking lot, what she could not have known was that she would have had to reshopped her entire basket, they could not hold the sale. I told her to have a Merry Christmas and kept on going and I am sure one day she will do the same for someone else. Could I afford to do that, not really, but trusting God to get us through I just did what seemed right. We are getting through just fine.
Why do we think we will suffer if we give something away? I don’t think our God is like that. However, if we are foolish with our money, do not set up a proper budget, do not live within our means, do not give tithes and offerings, well, that is just like saying we don’t need Him or the Wisdom He offers.
It just seems funny. it does not matter what topic we bring up, to do it correctly and well, we always wind up with God. He is the Maker of all things, He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the answer to everything. Amazing, wonderful, and so encouraging. For if He is the answer to everything, then if we ask for something in His Name and plan to use it for His glory, will our Heavenly Father, who will deny us nothing unless it is harmful say no? He may say wait, but our prayers will always be answered.
So when it comes to money, follow the Wisdom of Proverbs, set up a Godly budget, and use money as the tool it was intended to be used as. You will find you can afford more, live better, and be happier!