Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where Does Money Fit?

I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about money. We were discussing whether money was a part of 63 Days of Faith, Love, and Time. Will you have more faith, love and time in your life if you have more money? Or does money come as a result of faith, love and time?

There are those that believe that money is the "root of all evil". Or is it the path to happiness? In my own life I've had periods of time where money was quite abundant, and I've had other periods of time where it wasn't. I can speak from experience that my happiness "quotient" did not increase or decrease based on the flow of money.

Money is a source of frustration, fear, greed, worry, and conflict for many people. In our current economy, we are conditioned to believe that there is never enough. Money is "lacking". That we should always have "more". And what if we had more? Would we be more secure? Would we be happier? What would we do with it? Would we give more away to help those in need? Or would we buy more "stuff" and spend it on ourselves? I'm not suggesting that one is more wrong or more right than the other, but I'm suggesting that understanding the reason behind the quest for more money can be worth thinking about.

Ecclesiastes 5:10
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

A favorite public speaker and mentor of mine, Rita Davenport, always made the statement that "Money isn't everything, but it's right up there with oxygen."  She would then say, "Be more, have more, learn more, and earn more so you can share more." And she would add, "If money will fix it, it's not a problem."

I was thinking more about this today and recalling my experience a year ago when I joined a mission trip to Guatemala. It was a humbling experience to see children living in orphanages who had never worn a pair of shoes or clothing that wasn't previously worn by someone else. That had no family to love them. They were more starved for attention and hugs than any material possession we could have provided. I visited people in the meager village homes that cooked outdoors and had no running water. The children were gracious and kind and the people were happy and filled with faith and gratitude. I realized that as Americans we live better than 80% of the world. But then how do you define "better"?

I also came across an interesting article about money and our beliefs. It talked about how beliefs about money can become self-fulfilling: either "expanding" or "limiting" us. It suggested that one think about the word "money" and then write down the words that come to mind. Is it a feeling of "I can" or "I can't".  It's a matter of whether you are thinking in terms of "shortage" or in terms of "abundance". I'm a big believer in the "law of attraction" and that what "you think about, you bring about" (another Ritasim!). Our lives are guided by our beliefs. So we should make sure our attitudes and beliefs about money enhance, not diminish, what is really important to us.
Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
In terms of my views about money, I believe they are still a "work in progress". I believe over these past few years, God has been at work changing my heart.  My quest for money stems from a need to provide for my family, but it's also about being able to make a difference and leave a legacy. After all, I don't know that I've ever seen a hearse pulling a UHaul (one final "Ritaism").

Love and Prayers,

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