Money, Materialism, and Stewardship

A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound
A buck or a pound
A buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go around,
That clinking clanking sound
Can make the world go ’round.

Finances have a strong hold on people’s lives.  They can push you forward, hold you back, or statistically ruin your marriage.  It is something everyone, in nearly every culture, has to deal with – and unfortunately, few are taught about it, and are forced to learn through their own mistakes.

My husband and I recognize the power of money; But instead of letting it control us, we want to control our money.  Scripture warns us of the life we’d live if we continued to let our money and our worldly desires control us:

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” – I Timothy 6:9-11

This is an unending and constant struggle.  I can’t say we have it figured out, but the first step is recognizing it and starting to fight back.  There are so many times when we want to buy things that are outside our budget, and most of the time it is not things we need.  Instead, it is things we believe will make us prettier, more lovable, more desirable; things that will add prestige, give us status, and help us keep up with the Jones’; things that will make life simpler, and make us lazy, and more selfish.

When we start to give into the power of money, we put ourselves on a circle of destruction.

  • We feel that we are less of a person if we do not have that possession >
  • We believe we will be happier once we obtain that possession >
  • We buy it, or go into debt for it >
  • We have it, and we still feel empty and unfulfilled >
  • We find a new product that will give us what we want >
  • repeat, repeat, repeat.

This cycle leaves us treacherously in debt, unsatisfied and unfulfilled, addicted to material gain, and it completely destroys our self-worth, self-confidence, and our confidence in our God.  Everytime we go into debt for an item, we are saying “God, what you have provided for me is not good enough.  I am going to make my own path!”

The scripture I used today is preceded by this principle, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”  We need to stop buying into the world’s lies and selfish desires; Instead, we need to rest in God’s provisions and plan for our life.

Since making this goal, my husband and I have been plagued with material temptations.  My husband’s car broke down and would cost more in repairs than the worth of his car.  We junked it, put the money into savings, and have been a single-car family.  I’m sure it’s not easy on Tap- he has to take me to work, pick me up for lunch, and drive from his job to mine multiple times a day – But we are actually OK with it!  Then, we found out that the vacation we’ve been saving up for 2 years now, will be a little more expensive than we had planned.  After reassessing our budget to make it happen, instead of losing our deposit, we found out that I could no longer enroll in my art class this Fall.  I’m still a little sad about that, by my art teacher said “All in God’s timing!” completely reaffirming our decision!

So no… we don’t have a car like the Jones’, we don’t get to see Wicked for our anniversary, but we will pay off our student loans earlier than 10 years.  We will learn that these material possessions can be passed up, and we will survive it, and may even be happier for it!  We will learn to trust God’s provisions for our life, knowing that everything He gives us is never ours anyway!  We will finally know the peace that debt-free living brings, and we will be confident in ourselves – no longer enslaved to the power of riches.

So I say to you:

“The God, His Spirit, His Son, His Breath
His Words, His Breath
His Words, His Hands
Is all that makes the world go around
That beautiful sacred sigh
Can make the world go ’round.”
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