While attending collage, I listened to a nightly radio program on finances that always concluded with the statement, “Money is not important; the people who have it are.” In our culture this more often than not is true. How can money–or the lack of it–hinder spiritual growth?
Strangely enough, having too much money or too little money results in basically the same problems, and both can hinder spiritual growth. The Bible says, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” (Proverbs 30:8-9) Whether you have money to blow or barely enough to live on, both can result in the following:
1. Money becomes the center and focus of your life. It can become an idol. When you have much, you realise it’s power in our world. When you have little your concern and worry can become paramount over faith in God himself.
2. Money is seen idealistically. With lots of money, you feel yourself with extreme power. With very little money, you tend to think that a few bucks can solve all of your problems.
3. Money becomes an obsession. Those who have constantly want more. Those who do not have enough, constantly want more too.
4. Money cause stress and worry. When you are wealthy, you worry about losing your wealth or being cheated out of it. When you have no money, you worry about how to get it to purchase all the things you need and want.
5. Money changes your attitudes. Wealth causes many to become suspicious, stingy, and Scrooge-like. On the other hand, a lack of money can cause jealousy and resentment of the wealthy, and an overly stingy attitude out of habit.
6. Money changes your priorities. When money gets the better of you, rich or poor, it can cause you to begin to begin loving things and using people, just the opposite of what God wants for us. It can cause us to focus on earthly treasure, which is temporary, while forgetting your real goal: treasure in heaven.
Money, or the lack of it, need not hinder your spiritual growth. The secret is to learn contentment. Paul said, “Now I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) When we learn to be thankful for our daily bread (not worrying about what we will have to eat tomorrow), when we learn that this world and it’s riches or problems are temporary, then we have learned the secret of contentment whether we are rich or poor. Your treasure will not be where your heart is; the Bible says that your heart will be where your treasure is.
Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “Each of us have just the amount of money that God can trust us with.”