Know when to stop

“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.”

Greed has no bounds. The danger of desiring to be rich is that there might never come a time when you’ll feel rich enough. And so you’ll be forever toiling with all the anxiety and stress such toil entails. Not to mention that being obsessed with becoming rich can destroy your relationships and your health. “Keep your life free from love of money,” because greed can consume you. It can even kill you.

So know when to stop. Agur (see Proverbs 30) had discernment; he prayed, “Give me neither poverty or riches.” Paul too had discernment; he said, “Having food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)

Do we exercise discernment when it comes to acquiring wealth? Do we know when to stop?

Lord, help me not to be greedy for wealth. Help me know when to stop. Amen.

Be Smarter Than Money

To be the master of money, you need to be smarter than it. Then money will do as it is told. It will obey you. Instead of being a slave to it, you will be the master of it. That is financial intelligence.”

– Robert Kiyosaki, RICH DAD, POOR DAD

In a previous post I offered a gentle critique of Kiyosaki’s idea of “little greed,” which he espouses in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Today I’m going to do a turn-around and say “He’s right!” when he encourages us to be smarter than money. He explains, “Too often today, we focus on borrowing money to get the things we want instead of focusing on creating money. One is easier in the short term, but harder in the long term. It’s a bad habit that we as individuals, and as a nation, have gotten into. Remember, the easy road often becomes hard, and the hard road often becomes easy.” He goes on to say, “The earlier you can train yourself and those you love to be masters of money, the better. Money is a powerful force. Unfortunately, people use the power of money against themselves. If your financial intelligence is low, money will run all over you. It will be smarter than you. You will work for it all your life.”

Probably the most famous verse in the Bible regarding money is 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Many people take this to mean that God is absolutely against money. Didn’t Jesus say, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one or love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”? But as many Bible commentators have pointed out, it is the love of money, rather than money per se, which is the root of all evil. And while it is true that one cannot serve God and money, Jesus also said, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:12)

As Kiyosaki pointed out, Money is a powerful force and there is the very real danger of being tempted to love it and being enslaved by it. But the right response to this danger is not to jettison money out of one’s life completely (as if that were possible!) but to use it to serve God. The fact is a lot of good is being done all over the world because of money. We provide for our families by means of money, we support churches and missionaries by means of money, we pay for our hospital bills by means of money, we build schools and hospitals and orphanages by means of money, we send our children to school by means of money, we help alleviate the plight of the poor and the needy by means of money, and so on and so forth. To be sure, Paul warns us about the dangers accompanying the desire to be rich (1 Timothy 6:9), and he reminds rich people not to trust in their riches but in God (1 Timothy 6:17). Also, the author of Hebrews tells us, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” But loving money is one thing, being trustworthy in handling worldly wealth (as Jesus said) is another thing. The Bible does not advocate greed, but it does advocate faithful stewardship, and that includes being smart enough to handle money well.

Money

Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is trouble in the getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world, arise from one simple cause, — money!

— J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 327-328

How to Lose Your True Wealth

If you aspire to friendship with Christ, you will hate money and the gluttonous love of money; for money lures towards itself the mind of whoever loves it and diverts it from love of Jesus….

You should realize, however, that money is in fact disastrous to you, and the disaster will be all the greater because you will also lose your true wealth, God, without whom the life of salvation is impossible.

If you love money you do not love Christ….

– Nikita Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, nos. 56 & 57.