Weekly Thought – November 15, 2016
Fred often told his children he and Mary Alice were not interested in leaving large sums of money to them. “I don’t want you to expect something that isn’t coming. Your Mother and I want to leave a legacy, not an estate.” Their children learned the value of saving, buying quality, and staying out of debt. Money was never the measure of a person’s value. He appreciated the options it brought, and respected the responsibilities, but never worshipped at the altar of wealth.
The truth about money has been known for a long time. Aristotle called it “barren” – not because it doesn’t bring benefits, but because the emotions it evokes are among the lowest on the hierarchy of values. These feelings don’t measure up to the nobler, finer emotions drawn out by patriotism and faith. The man or women whose greatest emotional energy is reserved for money knows nothing of the higher emotional life.
Money can bring fun – even happiness – but not joy if it is only “money for money’s sake.” It has no intrinsic ability to elevate the intellect or spirit. In fact, the love of gold often blocks the love for all else that is higher and more meaningful. How pale the struggle for wealth becomes when compared to the struggle for freedom, the search for truth, the war for principles, or the fulfillment of the noblest passions.
However, money is one of life’s greatest necessities. To disparage money per se is to demonstrate an ignorance of life and its rules. I often say that I think about money like I think about blood. I make blood to live – I don’t live to make blood. The same thing is true about money for me. I make money to live, but I certainly don’t live to make money.
In my view, money has always represented option. I have been poor and I have been financially comfortable – I prefer the latter. But having money and loving money are poles apart.
The options money make possible are part of its utility. Without it, there are limited choices; with it, choices are opened up. The interesting thing about money and choices is that having many options doesn’t necessarily mean we are capable of always making good choices.
And having money doesn’t necessarily create good character. When someone comments, “Do you know Joe? He’s worth millions!” I always respond: “He may have accumulated millions, but that doesn’t determine his worth.” The stewardship of great wealth requires discipline and the recognition that what you have isn’t the same as who you are.
This week think carefully about: 1) What is my relationship to money? 2) Do I have money or does money have me? 3) How can I use my financial resources to multiply God’s work?
Words of Wisdom: “Having money and loving money are poles apart.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no intention of acquiring wisdom?” (Proverbs 17:16 NET Bible)