Money is this strange thing that continues to be front and center of my life whether I choose to acknowledge it or not. There are all sorts of things I want in life like freedom to do what I want when I want, to travel, to help people, to give people opportunity, to have a big living room that is open to all, to have a fridge that anyone can eat out of. The problem is with all these things, they sound so great and a lot of them make me sound even like a decent guy but when it comes down to it, they all lead to me needing money of some sort.
I was talking to a friend a few days ago, and she cares about money even less than I do, and she had an opportunity to get a lot of money handed to her but she didn’t really care. I reminded her that with her getting this money it would mean that she could quit the job she didn’t like and start doing things that she liked. The very thing she didn’t care about was the thing offering her freedom. Money all of sudden didn’t mean money anymore but was a symbol of something else.
Tonight we watched the Pursuit of Happiness and I saw this theme interwoven throughout the entire film. Will Smith in his “pursuit of happiness” was continually chasing money. He needed money to eat, have shelter and to take care of his son. Never for a second though did I think that his pursuit of money was in vain or was in some way sinful. Oddly the thing that takes the face of so much corruption and leads to so much hurt and destruction is now bringing life and fulfillment.
All of this is making me think that maybe money isn’t really something to hate. Maybe money can’t have titles pinned to it and actually stick. I can’t say money is evil because money isn’t something that can have a face or a personality. Maybe money is more like a mask of a sort; the substance never lies in itself but in what’s underneath the mask. Money can’t bring happiness because there is no substance, but it also can’t bring turmoil. It’s whatever we put that mask on which leads us down the right or wrong path. If what lies under that mask is selfishness and being power hungry than the money automatically begins to take that shape. The mask will speak those words and become that type.
In many ways this is good. This is good because this means money doesn’t have some sort of power over us that we can’t control. We are the ones that put the mask on. It’s our heart and our motives that will come through not the money itself. It’s the art of putting the mask on right so generosity, selflessness and goodness is always flowing through the use of that money (or the lack of it). May God grant us the strength to use money the way it was meant to be used and for it not to take captive of our lives. May he give us wisdom to know the difference between loving what money does and loving money.