Money; it’s something we all have to deal with. Furthermore, we all know that the love of money is bad, courtesy of 1 Timothy 6:10. So far so good; but if we stop there we leave another question unanswered: is it wrong to want more money? Put another way, is it wrong to pursue a higher paying job if you won’t starve without it? If you do that, does that show that you love money?
No; I don’t think it does, if we understand the purpose of money in the Christian life. Yes, money has a place in the Christian life; but to understand it we need to first divest ourselves of the bad thinking we have absorbed from our culture.
The first misconception we get from our culture is that money is an end in and of itself. This idea can even slip into our thinking when we preach against the love of money; we simply treat having money as a bad goal. The problem with this is that Paul never said that money is bad, only that the love of money is evil. Money itself has no moral quality to it. Money is a means to buy things, to achieve a goal higher than itself. Money was never intended to be our ultimate goal, just a means to get to our goal. The world thinks of money as a goal and look where it gets them. Nowhere good.
The second bit of faulty thinking that can slip into our minds if we’re not careful is the idea that money can buy happiness. While it is certainly possible for a Christian to slip into this mindset, it is just as easy to overreact against it, and believe that money can’t do anything of value, and that truly spiritual people don’t care about money at all. This is equally false. Money can be used to provide stability, and alleviate some problems. If one has enough money to buy food, pay bills, etcetera for the next couple of months, they’re in a much more stable position than someone who lives paycheck to paycheck. There is a stream of thought in Christianity, however, that eschews stability in favor of ‘stepping out in faith’ and trusting God to provide in unexpected ways. He certainly can do that and He does. I’ve seen it happen. God can also provide through a completely predictable 9-to-5 job and a regular paycheck. I’ve seen that happen a lot more. In spite of this, however, we are tempted to view people working a regular job, going home to their family, and never even making one missionary trip to a foreign country as somehow not serving God as much as they could. As if working a job to provide a safe, stable environment for one’s family were an indicator of a love of money.
Money isn’t the goal in life; we know this. Money can’t buy happiness, but we all know that it’s pretty handy to have. But is it okay to want more money? If we have a proper view of money and its purpose, then I would say yes; it certainly can be.
Far from being the point of life, money is a tool to aid us in life. It serves as a common medium of exchange so we can get other stuff that we actually value. It’s kind of like bartering, only instead of having to have a specific item that someone else wants to trade with them for the thing you want, you have something everyone wants, so you can give it to someone else in exchange for what you want. Way easier than having to trade grain to person A in exchange for eggs to trade with person B to get a blanket from person C to give to the blacksmith so he’ll fix your plow so you can plow your field and not starve this winter. Who wants to go through all that rigamarole? Nobody. That’s why people invented money.
Like any tool however, money needs to be used for the right purpose. Our purpose, indeed, the purpose of all creation, is to glorify God. Money is to be used to this end. There are many different ways that money can be used to glorify God, from providing for one’s family to supporting missionaries. So long as our acquisition of money is focused on serving God, then it’s being kept in its proper place and it is okay even to want more money, if you treat it as a means to that end. If you want more money so you can serve God with it, that’s a perfectly fine desire. Just remember to follow up on it.
Like what you read? Leave a comment or share with your friends! (Or both. You can do both.)