Have you ever dreamed about getting a whole lot of money? Imagining the house you would live in, the car you would drive, the clothes you would wear and even the holidays you could take (first class, of course)! It really does take you to a consumeristic happy place! In Canada recently, their “gold lotto” went for $1.5 billion. That amount of money is hard to get your head around!
Now think about that Bible verse, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Does this mean we aren’t allowed to have any money? Should we all be taking vows of poverty?
Martin Luther once said “three conversions are necessary when a person decides to follow Christ: the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the purse.” So what does a “conversion of the purse” actually look like?
Take a closer look at 1 Timothy 6:10. That first bit “For the love of money” is the key part that needs to be considered carefully. Money is important and we need it for even basic living. But how we feel about money can have a big impact on how we view it and then how we use it.
If we love our money, we’ll keep it close to us. We’ll spend it only on ourselves, use it only for personal gain. It becomes a driver for how we live, how we work and how we spend. A love of money will usually lead to a love of things, which in turn drives us toward consumerism in order to get as much “stuff” as we can.
If, however, we don’t love our money, we can see it simply as a tool to use for basic necessities. Then, more importantly, we can use it in the way God leads. There are so many needs, so many people hurting, so much to be done. Being generous with our money, using it in a way that helps more people know about a God who loves them, that’s far from “evil”. It isn’t loving our money; it’s loving the Person who gave us that money and allowing it to be used for a greater purpose.
If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you’ll know what a cutthroat game it can be. Many a friendship or relationship has been strained in the midst of a particularly gruelling and nasty game. So it might surprise you that the original inventor, Lizzie Magie, had a different vision for the game. In her version, when one person made lots of money, it benefited everyone. She wanted to create a place where generosity was encouraged and consumerism discouraged. It seems we’re a long way off her original idea, not only in the game but also in life.
Some people are blessed with wealth. God can and does do that. But never so that we can cruise through life. A person with money has a huge responsibility to not only make sure it doesn’t become their first love, but to use it generously to show the world what a Christ-like love looks like, as we give whole heartedly of our time, love and money.
Julie Catton lives in Melbourne, Victoria, and is Children’s Ministries Director for the Victorian Conference.