Remember how when you were little, $10 seemed like a million? (Honestly, there were probably college days that felt like that, too.) Money was this profound, magical, amorphous concept that you could hardly wrap your head around.
Now you’re paying bills.
Finances have gotten a sort of bad rap in lots of churches, but needlessly so. We cast a wary eye upon wealth because we misunderstand Scripture. The Bible never says, “Money is the root of all evil”— it says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Getting this settled makes a great deal of difference in how we interact with ourselves, each other, and God. As the Giver of all good gifts, our Father would like very much for us to have an accurate perspective.
I mentioned earlier this week that our schedules reveal what our hearts truly value. Bank accounts have a funny way of doing that, as well. Believe it or not, money holds varied meanings. Part of growing in self-awareness is determining which approach you take, so I thought I’d provide a quick test to help you find yours.
Using a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), respond to each of the statements below:
__ 1. I look up to people who have been very financially successful.
__ 2. In making a major purchase, I consider what others will think of my choice.
__ 3. Having high quality things reflects well on me.
__ 4. It is important for me to maintain a lifestyle similar to or better than that of my peers.
__ 5. Having some money in savings is very important to me.
__ 6. I would rather have extra money in the bank than some new purchase.
__ 7. I prefer safe investing with a moderate return versus high-risk investing with potentially high returns.
__ 8. I feel more secure when I know we have enough money for our bills.
__ 9. I really enjoy shopping and buying new things.
__ 10. People who have more money have more fun.
__ 11. I really enjoy spending money on myself and on others.
__ 12. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure helps.
__ 13. He or she who controls the purse strings calls the shots.
__ 14. I would be uncomfortable putting all my money into a joint account with my spouse.
__ 15. One of the important benefits of money is the ability to influence others.
__ 16. I think each spouse should control the money he or she earns.
The sooner you can identify which role money plays in your life, the more effectively you can preach the gospel to yourself in this realm. Jesus’ finished work applies to each of the four mindsets: we’ve been given immeasurable status, security, pleasure, and dominion as His co-heirs, and we look forward to far greater riches in glory than anything we could find here. There are no orphan-beggars in the kingdom, only sons and daughters of the most High God.
As someone who views finances mainly as security, I have to jog my own memory often about where my true source of security lies. When I come back around to the truth of my eternal inheritance, the bank account is freed up to be a wellspring of joyful generosity rather than the determiner of my emotional well-being.
It’s much more common for money to have people than it is for people to have money. Where the world operates in grasping, greedy snatches, we can provide a more satisfied and life-giving alternative. Let us move forward with open hands, gratefully accepting the gifts we’re granted and cheerfully offering help to those around us. Freely we’ve received, so freely we share. Jesus warned against gaining the whole world and losing our souls. By keeping the gospel front and center, wealth becomes an avenue of bettering the world and broadening our souls. Sounds like quite the proposition to me.
*This inventory is adapted from the couple’s workbook created by the Prepare/Enrich counseling program.