Money can be uncomfortable to talk about, so let’s talk about donuts first.
Do most people like donuts? Yes.
Can donuts make you happy? Only in a fleeting, earthly way.
Will donuts hurt you? Depends. Eating one occasionally won’t hurt you, but eating too many too often isn’t a great idea.
Are they evil? Not in and of themselves, but they can create a temptation to overindulge and food can become an idol in our lives.
The comparison isn’t perfect because donuts won’t pay the rent, but money is much the same way.
People like money, but it can only bring superficial, temporary happiness. It cannot bring joy or contentment. And, money can too easily be a stumbling block for us and become an idol in our lives.
It’s interesting to me that money is so explicitly and repetitively talked about in the Bible – both in the Old and New Testaments. There are more than 2,000 verses about money, but despite Scripture so blatantly warning us about the dangers of money, it continues to entrap us.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Money will not bring you joy or contentment.
This is a lie that the world feeds us. Every advertisement tells us that if we just had that thing, we’d be happier and somehow better. More, more, more.
I can speak to this from experience because I have lived part of my life in the world of money. The world of stepping off private jets to have fancy dinners in flashy clothes. The world of facades. Admittedly, the money bought many fun experiences and unique opportunities.
But, it hurt our family. It distracted us from being focused on God and family to being focused on the world and society. It deceived us. In some ways, it destroyed us.
It didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow fade. But money steadily crept up the ladder of our lives until it assumed this unmerited pedestal position as an idol.
I can replay those years of my life in my head like a movie. Sadly, the train wreck is still playing out in slow motion for some of those that we love – for family and friends that we just want to shake and say, “Wake up! You’ve got it all wrong!” Our blinders have, thankfully, been removed so we see with painful clarity how chasing money and the things it can do in this world continues to create warped priorities, to breed discontentment and to cause unintended pain.
I’ve heard it said that there is a God-shaped hole in each of us – meaning that the ache and longing in our souls can only truly be satisfied by God. It’s not a new car or big house or designer clothes shaped hole. And, quite frankly, trying to fill ourselves with those things makes it feel like a big, black, bottomless pit because they do nothing to fulfill us. Chasing the things of this world leaves us chasing our tails, tempted to believe that more would be better but always wondering why we still feel empty.
Money cannot buy joy or contentment, peace or hope, faith or salvation.
Having said all that, money is not inherently evil. Money becomes unhealthy in our lives if it becomes something that we worship or something that we selfishly hoard. Money allows us to provide food and shelter for our families, and the level of money needed to provide basic necessities certainly does make life easier. Money gives us an opportunity – and a responsibility – to use those funds to do fruitful kingdom work. We can do good with our money, and we should do good with our money.
My husband is the most generous person I know, and he often says with a smirk, “You can’t take any of it with you,” implying that we won’t take any of our earthly possessions with us when we pass into Heaven. It seems silly, but stop and think about that for a second. The day you meet Christ face to face, neither He nor anyone else will be commenting on your stuff or your wealth, but I imagine that He would be pleased with lives generously spent and with resources intentionally and efficiently used to spread the gospel.
The good news?
- It’s never too late to refocus and to start doing good with our money.
- And, there’s no amount of money that’s insignificant for God. Remember, he fed thousands with a few fish. Mark 12:42-43 tells the story of the widow’s offering, “A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And He called his disciples to him and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.’” Being poor by the world’s standards does not equate to being poor by God’s standards. We can all be generous, faithful stewards of the money given to us.
Money is not the currency of Christianity. Instead, may we be rich in spirit with our heart’s treasure focused on eternity.
Grace and peace,
Sara is a West Texas girl, currently living outside of Dallas. She adores her husband of 14+ years and delights in the daily chaos of raising and discipling their 3 young girls. She is also a physician, specializing in MRI imaging.
Sara is an encouraging friend, intentional at developing authentic relationships. She has a heart for supporting women and families, and she is passionate about Bible translation.
Week 5 Challenge: What makes you happy? What is the source of your happiness? Take time this week to honestly answer this question. Share your answer with your group or write it down in your journal. What changes might you need to make so Christ as the source of your happiness?