Money will make me happy
I always figured that if I got enough zeros behind the first digit of my salary I would be content. I wasn’t. Money can buy you things to entertain you but it can never buy you happiness. The accumulation of things does not equate to an increase in peace and happiness. Jesus talked about money several times. In all his expositions, he always revealed that people are more important than things. A rich young man approached Jesus and wanted to find purpose and eternal life. When he realised it meant losing his wealth, he walked away. Even the richest men and women are still seeking for a satisfaction that their money does not ascertain. There is a false belief in many of us that the extra coin will keep us content. Our souls will never be content to the brim by seeking to store up treasures on earth. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” A poor man didn’t write that. A very rich man did! Solomon’s wealth was so grand that it influenced the economy of the country- silver was as common as stones in his day. In the words of Christ himself, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things.”(Luke 12:15)
Money is the root of all evil
That is another myth often quoted by many. The idea is a misread, misquoted and misinterpreted portion of Biblical scripture found in 1st Timothy 6:10. Paul the apostle categorically states that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil- not money in itself. Your bank account is not filled with evil; your heart is. Money is a good thing. Money pays my bills, fuels my car, gives me brownie points on Valentines and helps me entertain my friends. However, when I fall in love with it and adore it, I begin an endless thirst that can never be quenched. Our hearts are deceitful above all. Even when we deem our motives to be pure, it is possible that we have wrong intentions. Proverbs 14:12 says There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death. A perfect example is from Luke 12. When Jesus was speaking to a crowd, a man cried out to Him saying, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus’ answer is very shocking. Here is a man who is claiming what is legally his! What he deserves- his share of money. Yet what does Jesus say in response to this? “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” You read that and you feel like saying, “Oh, come on, give the guy a break! It’s his property.” From our vantage point, the man’s petition is just. From God’s, greed is at work. From the hearts of men flow all sorts of evil. For Jesus to say to watch out for greed it must mean something important – that greed and the love of money is something so subtle that we may not see it in our lives, hence the need to watch out. For Jesus to say “all kinds of greed” it should mean that we can never really tell how greed looks like unless we are keen. Greed today may appear as a ravenous monster wanting everything to himself. Tomorrow, greed with be an innocent man wanting his share of the property. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. The love of money is greed and Jesus said they are all kinds of greed. These all kinds of greed produce all kinds of evil.
My money is my money
Every follower of Jesus ought to know Psalm 24:1. It says “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” God never loses possession of anything he gives. We are brokers on earth, not owners. Our real possession will be granted to us in eternity. All the bank accounts on earth will never translate to riches in heaven. If the poorest man in heaven sleeps on streets, they are streets of gold- and that is infinitely richer that the richest man on earth. At the end of our time on this planet, we will account for all we possessed. We will stand before God and account for what we did with HIS money, HIS time, HIS body, HIS opportunities and HIS ideas. One way to keep reminding ourselves that our money is not our own is by giving it away. Giving is the trademark sign of our Christianity, not preaching or anything else. Giving! Why? Because giving is love. You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. Money reveals character. When we find it hard to give, it speaks a lot about our hearts. Deuteronomy 15:10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Poverty is not so bad
This is another idea that must be scraped. Poverty is a bad thing. See what the Bible says about poverty:
- Proverbs 10:15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
- Proverbs 6:10-11 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest “– Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.
- Proverbs 19:7 The poor are shunned by all their relatives– how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found
While many caught in poverty had no choice, the believer should realize that the gift of work is an antidote against poverty. It would be wrong to believe that every poor person is poor because they did not work. Far from it! Poverty is far complex than that. Misfortune in the physical, economical, political, spiritual and social circles contribute to poverty. However, despite it, realize that we may fall into a pit we did not see but God gives us wings to get out. God has gifted our minds with infinite ideas. The poor man does not need to be taught how to fish, he needs to be given access to the pond. We ought to eradicate poverty in our capacity. I know you are probably thinking of malnourished African children with no homes, but there is more. There is you. If you remain average and complacent with your status, you are poor beloved. Are you focused on just getting by and settling yourself or are you passionate to give to those in need as well? Being content is not being complacent. Paul asked us to be godly and content in 1st Timothy 6:6 with regards to money. He did not ask us to be complacent. Contentedness seeks to keep giving while not desiring more than one needs. Complacency seeks to accumulate and benefit self to the point of a mediocre self satisfaction.
To help those children, you need to give. You cannot give if you don’t have. You cannot have if you are poor. Look at your financial life. Are you responsible with the end month salary? Could you wake up earlier and save time in traffic and consequently save fuel? Could the money you save help someone in need? It could. If your personal discipline escalates, your money will too. A lack of discipline will result in poverty. Proverbs 13:18 says Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honoured. Do not allow poverty to cripple your choices. We have infinite wealth ideas. Take time to read financial books. Look for Christian ones from accomplished financially rich men and women such as Spirit Driven Success by Dani Johnson and Total Money Management by Dave Ramsey. They are both Christians and teach about money from a biblical point of view. When you get the ideas, Beloved…remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors as it is today.(Deuteronomy 8:18). As you make money, always remember that God does not give us money to accumulate it; He gives us money to glorify His name and His kingdom. Spend wisely on yourself but remember that you will account for every coin, Beloved. And when we have made wealth, always remember Deuteronomy 8:10-20:
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Money is security
This one is a difficult myth to reject. The idea that God does not condone poverty would make us believe that God wants us to have money to be secure. Wrong, beloved. If we ever put our security in money, it means money has become our protection and hence our God. God’s view of money is to stay away from poverty but at the same time not to be owned by wealth. There is an obsession with many Christians today about wealth, God’s ultimate purpose for us on earth is not to make money but to become like Christ Jesus (Romans 8:29). If we place our hope in money and panic the day it begins to disappear, then we reveal that our wicked hearts have placed our security not in the Creator but in His things. The concept is akin to idolatry and God shall have no other gods before him. Look at what Job said about trusting money as security.
Job 31:24,25 and 28: If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained …then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
All of Job’s money couldn’t save him from the calamity he faced. All the money aboard the Titanic could not stop it from sinking. Our true treasure should be in heaven where moths or rust cannot destroy.
I need to work smart not hard
Another myth about money is that work is a curse. These are people who believe that a shortcut away from work must be divine. That is far from the truth, Beloved. In Genesis, God gave Adam the mandate to work before the fall happened, even before Eve came. Beloved, you not only need to work smart, you also need to work hard. It’s not either or, it’s both and. God will not bless your hands; he will bless the work of your hands. Read the following verses:
- Deuteronomy 28:12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
- Psalm 90:17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands. (NIV)
- Psalm 128:2 You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. (NIV)
- Proverbs 12:11 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense. (NIV)
- Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (NIV)
- Proverbs 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (NIV)
Pursuing to be rich is not a bad thing!
This myth will probably make you angry with me so I will begin with two scriptures.
- Proverbs 28:22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.
- 1 Timothy 6:9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Pursuing being rich is dangerous for the soul of a believer. Why? That pursuit poisons the hearts and draws the believer away from the love of God. That is why Jesus said you cannot serve God and money. The love of money has a very powerful influence that we can never easily accept. How many people go to the altar to confess greed? Few or none. Why? Nobody thinks it’s their problem. But God sees how deceitful our hearts can be and asks us to seek first his kingdom and all these other things shall be added unto us. Abraham walked with God and in no time, he had abundant wealth. He did not pursue wealth but God. And when the wealth came, his focus remained on God to the extent that he even gave off lots of good land and property to his nephew Lot.
May our focus on God be so passionate and intense that:
- Like Paul the Apostle we will make money through our vocations to finance the gospel.
- Like the early church, we will give our properties to house the poor and needy.
- Like Solomon, our wealth will be for God’s glory.
- Like Job, we shall own wealth but it shall never possess us.
- Like the writer in Proverbs 30, we shall be content with enough but never entertain poverty.