It seems second nature for us to wish that we had more money in fact, sometimes, even as Christians, we can put too much faith in money and get caught up thinking that money would solve our problems. Money can certainly change things, but unfortunately the thing it often changes is us and sometimes not for the better. Let’s look at four ways that money can change a person.
The following recording is from “Mornings with Kelli and Steve” on Moody Radio Indiana (97.9 FM). For more information on Moody Radio, go to moodyradio.org/indiana.
1. Money can cause us to rely on ourselves instead of God.
D.L. Moody wisely said, “We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.”
Need often causes us to draw near to God. Sadly, money can cause us to forget just how much we rely on God for everything in our lives. When we are able to buy the things we need, it’s easy to start to feel self-reliant and forget our ultimate provider.
One of the best gauges of our heart condition is to reflect on how thankful we are for the blessings that we have. If we find that we’re taking our daily provisions for granted or even complaining about little inconveniences even though we have more than enough, we may need to step back and remember that God has graciously provided all those things for us. We should be thankful that we’re not going to bed hungry or cold. Our abundance can often cause us to miss out on the simple pleasures of life and our dependency on God.
2. Money can make you discontent.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy unhappiness.
Contentment is hard to find and we often think that if we had just a little more, maybe then we could be happy with our situation. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, our happiness has very little correlation to our circumstances. Our goal should be to mirror Paul as he describes in Philippians 4:11 – “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
In many cases, having more money will actually make us more likely to be discontent. For many of us, we find contentment in our current situation because we have a lack of choices. There are a lot of things we may want to have, but can’t afford them. When a person comes into more money, they may quickly find out that they weren’t actually content with their previous lifestyle. They were just enduring it because they didn’t have a choice to buy more expensive things.
3. Money can make you proud.
Money can quickly change the way that we view ourselves and others. We mistakenly use it as a scorecard.
Ourselves – Money can cause us to become prideful and believe that we’ve done something to deserve our current financial circumstances. When we adopt that prideful mindset, we quickly forget that God is sovereign over all situations, including who is rich and who is poor.
Others – In our pride, we can quickly start to consider ourselves more important and above others who are in a lesser position financially. You don’t have to look very far to see how easily this mindset can overcome people. Consider the way people in the service industry are treated on a daily basis by those customers they serve. If you ever find yourself treating the server at a restaurant or the custodian at your business as someone lesser than you, you’re already struggling with this issue of pride.
4. Money can open you to temptation and addictions
It’s easy to be judgmental when we look at the ways that others choose to spend their money, especially when it comes to the wealthy. For example, when we hear that Bono paid $1,500 for a first class seat on a flight so he could put his hat in the seat, we think that sounds ridiculous. The thing is, most of us aren’t in a position where we could afford that luxury. We don’t know what spending temptations we would face if we had that much money.
A blessing is something that brings us closer to God. So, not having enough money to be faced with these spending temptations is a blessing. Unfortunately, it’s one that we often look down upon. Instead of being happy with a simple life, we tend to wish we had more, which would likely only lead us farther away from God.
John Wesley once said, “Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart.” He understood the dangers money presented, so instead of wrestling with temptation, he chose to voluntarily avoid it.
Brad Graber, CFP® has been working with clients on personal financial planning and investment issues since 1996. He invests his time mentoring and educating individuals on ways to be better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to them.