What I have learned from being part of this conversation with wealthy Christians is that the “grid” to help you navigate your way through this “culture of more” is to place your complete trust in God’s Word. That may sound overly simplistic, so think of it this way. On the one hand, you have a multi-billion dollar machine whose only goal is to generate desire. And it does this by promising that your next acquisition will make you happier. On the other hand, you have a God who does not condemn you for being wealthy but invites you to place your trust in him and not in the things you are buying. Which of those two messages rings true to you? Or to put it another way, how long did the “happiness” last after you bought that new ________________ (fill in the blank)? I love the smell of a new car, and for the first few weeks, I can’t wait to hop in and drive it to work. But in a relatively short time, it almost turns on me and becomes just a car. It gets me to work. And back. Not exactly my idea of happiness.
Many of the people who are having this conversation about wealth have decided to take God at his word. I have watched people downsize their lifestyles in order to be more generous, and always with unexpected delight. I’ve seen friends sell large homes and move into smaller ones and find that there’s greater intimacy with their children because they are physically closer to them. I’ve observed others divest themselves of properties and other resources only to discover more energy for relationships. They didn’t know the cost that having so much was extracting from them.
Alternatively, I’ve seen families buy larger homes in order to practice their gift of hospitality. I’ve seen friends begin to use their airplanes as tools for ministry. The conversation is not necessarily about living on less; it is about how to align our lifestyles with God’s unique call on our lives.
This may be where you decide to stop reading.
But truly, this is not about what you get rid of or what you keep. This conversation is not about things. It’s about experiencing the abundance that God wants for you. The money that you have earned can be a source of great joy or a burden that can lead to tremendous disappointment. Fortunately, we have a reliable resource to help us enjoy the former and avoid the latter.
The Bible and Money
If you’re not sure how to manage your money, there’s no shortage of resources available to help you. Tax accountants can help you avoid paying more taxes than necessary. Investment companies such as Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs provide a variety of investment products and counsel on which ones would be best for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 223,400 financial planners in the United States,2 all willing and able to help you make wise money decisions. And then there’s your broker, your cousin who seems to always pick the right stocks at the right time, and of course, a variety of financial media in print, on television, and on the Internet.
Those resources are all great, but I’d like you to consider a different type of guide that’s even better, more reliable, and more trustworthy. Of course, I’m talking about the Bible.
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