You might be surprised to know that the Bible contains more than 2,000 references to money. It's a money reference guide. God's Word, the source of all truth, is the place to find guidance for establishing our beliefs and attitudes.
Money Is A Tool
Money is a handy convenience. Without it we'd have to carry around chickens and pigs to trade for goods and services we need.
Money is to be a non-emotional subject. We are not to love money or hate it, be fearful of not having enough or worried about having too much.
We are to be comfortable with money, not anxious about it or careless with it. We are not to hoard it, nor are we to throw it away. That kind of financial balance is called solvency. Solvency occurs when money takes its proper place in our lives as a tool with which to serve God, not as a filler of empty souls.
Money Is Powerless
Money has no power of its own, in the same way a computer or a coffee maker has no inherent ability. The truth is that no matter how fancy, how turbo-charged, how modern or technically capable, any tool left in the closet or used contrary to the purpose for which it was intended is not going to produce the best results; and in some cases, the results can be negative.
Money Is A Neutral Commodity
It's what we do with a tool that counts. The way we manage money is a direct reflection of our commitment to obey God and serve others. We are not to worry about from where money will come. Employers (or pensions, bonuses, real estate income, support, unemployment checks or any other entity) are not the source of our income. They are simply the conduits through which God delivers it.
God is the source because He is the one who has given us the skills and ability to work. Jobs may come and go, stock markets may crash, real estate values may fall off the face of the earth, but the Source is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our job is to be faithful, diligent and trustworthy stewards.
Over the years, I have taken the lessons I've learned, the mistakes I've made, the principles of Scripture and wisdom from experts, counselors and teachers whom I respect and boiled it all down to these simple money rules that changed my life.
Rule 1: Spend Less Than You Earn
Rule 2: Save for the Future
Rule 3: Give Some Away
Rule 4: Anticipate Your Irregular Expenses
Rule 5: Tell Your Money Where to Go
Rule 6: Manage Your Credit
Rule 7: Borrow Only What You Know You Can Repay
My rules are not seasonal, nor are they based on emotion. They work for people who have lots of money as well as those who are struggling to survive on a single income or are between jobs.
Money Makes Us Happy
I'm sure you've heard this, perhaps you've even said it a time or two. But it's a little more complicated than that. Each of us has a body, an ego and a spirit. Our egos are in search of happiness; our souls long for contentment.
Your ego is not a bad thing. It's that part of you that includes your personality -- your thinking, feeling and acting self. Your ego is responsible for your style and personal tastes. Your ego produces emotions and desires -- and I mean all kinds of desires, from little, so-so ones to those that scream out to be satisfied. Some desires are for needs, others for wants.
Face it. Satisfying a desire produces happiness and it usually takes money to fulfill desires. Anyone who says money can't buy happiness has never bought a new car or gone on a shopping spree, or seen the look on a child's face on Christmas morning. The frustrating thing is that this kind of happiness is temporary. It always wears off.
Think back to a time when you longed for something. I mean really longed and yearned. You were nearly obsessed by your desire and could think of little else. Maybe it was your first car or certain article of clothing or a new piece of furniture. When you finally got it you were happy beyond belief. But the happiness wore off, didn't it? That's because desires once satisfied do not stay satisfied. Gratification received from fulfilled desires is, at best, temporary. That's how our minds and emotions work.
Your soul, your spiritual nature seeks contentment -- satisfaction with what you have, whatever your situation might be. Contentment is a learned behavior, an acquired skill. It doesn't just happen when you fall into the right set of circumstances. Contentment cannot be purchased, which is the best news because it means contentment is available to everyone, no matter what their financial situation.
Longing for Contentment
Once you understand that fulfilling the desires of ego produces temporary satisfaction and fulfilling the desires of your spirit brings lasting satisfaction, you can stop hoping to find lasting contentment in a new sofa, or joy and peace in new carpeting. Sure, your new sofa and carpeting will likely bring you happiness for some period of time. And that's wonderful. But you will quit looking to material things to produce the contentment your spirit seeks. You will instinctively know the difference between momentary pleasure and deep-seated contentment. What a change that will make in your life.
Contentment has a way of quieting insatiable desires. Contentment is the best antidote for an overly needy ego.