Lately I’ve started to wonder more and more about money, what its good for and what it isn’t good for. How dangerous it can be and how helpful it can be. How tempting it can be and how freeing it can be.
For instance, I’m now I believe at the point in my life that if I was presented with two jobs. One job that paid two hundred thousand dollars a year but I had to work 50 hours a week at a job that I didn’t enjoy all that much but I didn’t hate. The other job would pay around twenty thousand a year but I actually enjoyed my job and I felt that I was fulfilling my purpose here. I would take the latter now in a second. Money would make me no happier than having no money. Living in luxury with fashionable clothes and a nice car would change my joy level not even a bit compared to if I lived in a one bedroom grungy apartment, wore clothes from value village, sat on used furniture and took public transit. I don’t say that to boost my ego at all, it’s just the point I am at right now. In fact, many people would say that I am naïve and will understand as I get older.
People like my parents who have raised three kids and have them depending on them would tell me that when I get married and have kids depending on me it will change. People like them will say that I will care more about money and want to provide nice things for my family and treat them well. Some of my friends would tell me that I’m wasting so much potential since I have business sense and know my way around computers and websites. Truth is, I know my talents and my weaknesses and I could probably work my way up pretty quick in corporations and make some good cash if I wanted to.
It’s amazing how much money dictates everything we do. Either we are spending it to do something we want or we are earning it so we can spend it to do something we want. To get out of that cycle, is almost, if not impossible in a culture like ours. How do we escape it? Do we? Are we meant to? I think it is one thing to live in culture and work with culture in making money and earning and spending over and over again. I think its another thing to become a product of culture and actually become something that culture earns and culture spends. We can easily enough become part of the endless cycle of working ourselves to death to earn a nice place and have nice things and keep working to produce more nice things for ourselves and to build ‘equity’ into ourselves. It is entirely different to do what I believe God has called us to do and that is to do all we do to the glory of God.
This means that we are no longer being used by culture to simply keep culture alive. We are now earning money not to work back into culture but to change culture. We are using what culture produces, consumerism and using that to help bring the Kingdom of God forward instead of a stronger culture. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me. By simply buying and spending we are nothing more than products of the culture around her. Instead we are called to redeem and transform the culture. What that looks like depends. But imagine a community of faith who didn’t earn and buy things for themselves only to consume but instead put their money towards something for someone else. What if instead of a new parking lot for a church we put it into new clothes for families who don’t have any in the neighborhood. What if instead of buying our tenth pair of shoes, we bought a pair of shoes for the little girl in the poor area whose been wearing a pair that has been to small for her for a few years. What if we started to look to something rather than ourselves to spend our money. What if before every purchase we sat down and weighed out if we were just being selfish and being nothing more than a cookie-cutter consumer, a product of our own culture or if we were intentionally seeking out to be like Christ and further the Kingdom of God.