I Don’t Care Too Much for Money

I made a vow to God (and the moon and stars) that I would not make money my aim in life.  Being determined to make the work of the ministry my goal and not look at the paycheck, I dove into the ministry.  Apparently, no one else was looking at it, either.  God has been good to me over the years, and I would give a thousand lifetimes to Him if I could, but there is no escaping the demands of this life even if you are preparing for the next.  Our Lord knew this.  Though His kingdom is not of this word, Jesus is aware that we are dust and bound to the earth for a time.  In the biblical record, He said quite a bit about money.  The Savior knew we’d understand truth by the analogy.   

Things are so much easier if you have money.  Now, this doesn’t mean everything is better, per se, but things are easier.  If you can afford to hire things done, then you don’t have to do them yourself.  Money will buy you free time and certain types of ease.  If you pay cash, you can get better deals, and people with money are more able to find money.  You are more likely to get your way if you have money, and more people will care about your opinion.  It’s easy to set your own course if you are well-to-do, and you can have a say in governance.  It may rightly be observed that we should live by the Golden Rule, but, as Mr. T famously said, “The man with the gold rules.” 

Even if you don’t wear forty pounds of gold around your neck, you must acknowledge the undeniable allure of wealth.  People will expend themselves mercilessly and sacrifice exponentially for money.  A note found alongside the body of a deceased prospector read, “I lost my horse, I’m out of water, the Indians are after me, but I’ve got all the gold I can carry.”  Some will object (rightly) that not all the upper crust are crusty.  Many spend their wealth wisely, even charitably, and should be lauded for such.  There are pleasures and pitfalls in plenty.  As in so many areas of life, there should be some balance if the perfect point of posture remains unknown.

When dealing in dollars and cents, things are quantifiable.  I once asked a lawyer why it was that property crimes received quicker and (sometimes) higher remunerations than personal crimes.  Counsel replied that it was easier to assess damages in a property crime.  In measuring human contributions, it may be nigh impossible to know the cost apart from the charge.  Herein lays the objection of the underpaid.  They are not recompensed according to their actual worth.  While this undoubtedly can be true, we are paid by negotiation, not value.  If we are keeping score, it’s easier to do monetarily, and money makes the world go around.  I don’t guess at my bank balance (most of the time).

In benevolent work, it can be hard to know how to help apart from financial considerations.  Money, itself, will answer few real problems, but currency gives temporary respite from crushing concerns.  It, literally, buys time.  This and related concerns explain why we have trouble getting away from money as the arbiter of all things.  Again, while it may not be the total answer, money helps and demonstrably.  Governments, world over, know they can stay afloat (and in office) by paying national and personal bills, so debts and deficits keep rising while the relative poverty rate stays about the same.  Even the very thrifty are forced to admit minimum requirements of the almighty dollar.

Solomon said, “Money is the answer for everything.”  Today, we say, “Money talks.”  Few things say more about us than what we do for a living and how we spend our pay.  It is true that we are not summed by our jobs or careers, but time is money and indicative of how we have occupied ourselves over the years.  It is natural to define ourselves by our work though more insight is needed.  All occupations may be holy callings, but our times solely devoted to heavenly pursuits will pale in comparison to billable hours.  No one can serve two masters, and decisions concerning the value of God’s work will certainly be reflected in minutes played.  We will love and cling to one benefactor. 

Most people will not have a fortune at any one time.  However, in their lifetimes, fortunes will pass through their hands.  How will you spend yours, and will the pursuit of money obscure pursuit of the Master?  Theodore Geisel (among others) said life is a great balancing act.  Whether we take advice from the good doctor or other sources, it is clear biblically that things have a proper order with the immediate not necessarily the important.  Scripture urges wisdom in all applications, but stresses that God is the Giver of advancement in any endeavor.  He is concerned with our concerns, and the ways we earn and expend are parts of the whole as time spent indicates our values.

Sterl

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