The Perils of Money
Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)
Perils of Wealth
- Attitudes of entitlement. Most advertisements have the underlying message that you deserve to have what you want when you want it.
- Narcissism, defined as excessive interest in one's own appearance, comfort, importance, abilities, etc.
- Dissatisfaction. Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
- Greed. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
- Arrogance. Wealth reduced our perceived need for God. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
- Risk of loss. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone. (Proverbs 23:5)
- Disappointment. Wealth does not bring happiness, despite great hopes. Here are the average quality-of-life ratings for participants in the following income ranges. Notice that the wealthiest people had the lowest rating!
- 2.81 -- $0 to $1,000/month
- 2.77 -- $1,001-$2,000/month
- 2.84 -- $2,001-$3,000/month
- 2.86 -- $3,001-$4,000/month
- 2.63 -- $Over $4,000/month
- When things come too easily, it's hard to appreciate them.
- Children of the wealthy are at risk of becoming "acquisitive ingrates."
Perils of Poverty
- True poverty (not being able to afford food, clothing, shelter) can drive people to desperation and sin.
- Very few modern Americans are truly poor. Rather, they lack financial intelligence and self-discipline. They are the victims of bad habits.
Perils of Debt
- Indentured servitude / slavery. The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
- The habit of a consumptive lifestyle destroys one's ability to prosper. "Consume" means "use up, waste, destroy or squander.
- Debt presumes on God and may deny God an opportunity to work.
- Debt builds expectations of instant gratification.
- Debt destroys your options, mortgages the future, reduces your flexibility.
- Debt and resulting financial disharmony is cited as a cause of 90% of divorces. Husbands may see money as representing freedom, control and autonomy, and resist their wives attempts to control spending.
- Kid grow up seeing credit cards as their ticket to freedom.
Incorrect Beliefs About Money
Satan is a master of extremes. He's indifferent to which side of the horse we fall off, as long as we're not in the saddle.
- Asceticism is a way of thinking that sees money and things as evil in themselves. The more you own, the less spiritual you are perceived to be. St. Francis of Assisi taught that money should be shunned as the Devil itself.
- Materialism means your life is centered around the accumulation of things and your mind is constantly thinking about things. Materialism is idolatry. The more things we own, the more they grip us, hold us, and set us in orbit around them rather than vise versa.
- Their property held them in chains. . .chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.
- —Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, writing in the 3rd century
- There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets things with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns my and mine look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.
- —A.W. Tozer
- A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much, and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy, sick.
- —John Steinbeck in a letter, printed in the Washington Post on January 28, 1960
- In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of persecution pass it, while 95% who face the test of prosperity fail it.
- —Romanian leader of the persecuted church under Communism
- You can have both God and money, but you cannot serve both God and money.
Money can be a great servant to those who have the right master.
If the rug can be pulled out from under you, you are standing on the wrong rug.
Materialism treats the temporal as if it were eternal and the eternal as if it were nonexistent.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.
If your treasure is on earth, you are headed away from it.
If your treasure is in heaven, you are always headed toward it.
Go on to read Release from Servitude
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony