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Five Cautions about Money PDF Print E-mail
Written by Conrade Yap   
Sunday, 07 February 2010 22:51
"Real success in life means the individual's conquest of himself; it means how he has betttered himself, not how he has bettered his fortune. The great questions in life is not "What have I?" but "What am I?"" (William George Jordan)


Do not let your possessions define who you are. If you do, you will soon learn that your value depreciates rapidly, especially when your possessions become less and less. Instead, let your knowledge of who you are, be defined by God, that you learn to take control of possessions, lest these possessions control you. Until you learn how to manage possessions, be thankful that you do not have too much of them. Below are five warnings about the nature of money.




A) Be careful of Becoming-Rich-Too-Quick


A story was told of Jack Whitaker, who in 2002 won a major jackpot of US$315 million. Most people would have envied his fortune. From then on, his life became a living nightmare. Lawsuits pile up against him for all kinds of reasons. His legal fees run into millions of dolllars. All kinds of requests for money come from relatives, even strangers. He fell into depression, and withdrew from life totally. He carelessly gives a huge amount of his winnings to his 17 year old granddaughter, who then started using drugs. Two years later, his granddaughter died of a drug overdoes. Whitaker calls his lottery winnings a curse. A story like this is a reality check for those of us who think that having more money will solve the bulk of our problems.


B) Be careful: Money Fuels Greed


Sometimes, we may be tempted to think that if we are rich, we may never need to work. We can buy whatever we want. We can live a life of luxury without having to work for it. Anyone who thinks like this could not be more wrong. Money and riches have an insidious way to destroy us from the inside. It works in a slow and gradual way, like a slow-release poison. Being rich comes with a lot of responsibility. Until we learn to live our lives humbly and simply, we will not be able to handle riches. Until we learn that greed is something not to be trifled with, riches can hurt us. I can hardly remember any of my previous colleagues ever say they are satisfied with their pay. Every time they get an increment, they usually say that they should have gotten more. The trouble is, people simply don't know how much is enough.


C) Be careful: Money Blinds Us


The Madoff scandal, the Enron debacle and the many financial downfalls hurt not just the guilty ones, but wipe out the savings and hard earnings of many people. What a pity that the millions of dollars earned through thrift and diligence, are lost because of a few dishonest men. In his latest book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller lists money as a 'god.' Money as a god thrives in a culture of greed, blinds us from our own greed, seduces and master us gradually and totally. People may think that money changes everything. Often they think only on the good side. They underestimate the darker side. Keller writes:


"Innumerable writers and thinkers have been pointing out 'the culture of greed' that has been eating away at our souls and has brought about economic collapse. Yet no one thinks that change is around the corner. Why? It's because greed and avarice are especially hard to see in ourselves." (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, NY: Dutton, 2009, p51)


Money blinds us from understanding what we truly need. It makes us greedy for more. It blurs one's understanding of how much is enough. Keller rightly observes that when we are flushed with lots of money, we find it hard to see greed in ourselves. The Bible also warns us about the love of money which is the root of evil (1 Tim 6:10).


D) Be Careful: Control Money, lest they control you


For those of us who are rich, be careful not to let money control you. Let generosity, giving and stewardship be key guidelines for what you have. For those of us struggling with trying to make ends meet, let hope, humility and patience develop our dependence on God. Be thankful always, both in our plenty, as well as in our lack.


E) Be Careful: Serve God, not Money

For in God, we believe we shall lack nothing. If we say we trust God, money is secondary. If money becomes primary consideration for our lives, then money has become a god inside us. This will lead us down the path of idolatry.


May the joy of the Lord be our strength. Do not let money define us. Let us define our love for God and neighbour through godly handling of our possessions. Let our understanding of self be transformed, that our possessions be used to demonstrate our love for God and for our neighbours.



Last Updated on Sunday, 07 February 2010 23:23