Money, on the other hand, is not that pretty, and doesn't taste good. Ah, you say, but look what money buys. Well, there you have it. Money, in our minds, represents, all that can be purchased with it from homes to trips, from clothes to chocolate. There is little, we believe, that money cannot buy.
What Money Can Buy
Money is important because we use it to purchase things we need to stay alive, warm, and dry, such as food, clothing, rent, and gas for our car. The things that make life easier, such as cars, cell phones, computers, and CD players cost money too. And most of our dreams and desires (trips, business ideas, dates with our husband, conferences) cost money too.
We can't seem to get away with money, so if we struggle with money management, we can't just stay away from money. An alcoholic can avoid liquor, bars, and parties where hard drinks are served. However, a glutton, can't just avoid food for the rest of her life, she must learn self-control. A glutton wants more food than her body needs.
Many of us are money-gluttons. We want more money than we need.
What Money Can't Buy
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that," (I Timothy 6:6-8NIV)
God tells us, in His Word, that food and clothing are enough, that we can be content is we are fed and clothed. Wow! That doesn't even include shelter. I believe that God wants to bless us with so many good things. He wants to give us homes, cars, cell phones, computers, vacations, and neat gadgets. But we don't wait for him to give us anything before we are out, in our own strength, grabbing for all that we can get.
Nutritionists tell us that if we eat healthy most of the time, we can splurge a little once in awhile. But, the American diet is like a continual feast with tons of rich food consumed on a regular basis. Feasting is not a rare thing, but a common way of life.
Do you need to go on a financial diet? If you are in debt, cannot pay your bills, or long for things you can't afford, then it's time to diet. Make a budget (ouch!). Then use self-denial to stick to it.
A Financial Diet
God is faithful and He will help you to stick to your new financial plan. Think of it in terms of regaining your financial health. A healthy financial lifestyle consists of money to tithe, pay bills, save, and a little bit of disposable income. To regain health health, cut bills where possible (cancel cable, lower your cell phone plan), reign in impulsive buying, pay off debt, and begin to put a little bit of money in savings each month, even if its only $5.00.
If you eat more calories than your body needs, you gain weight because your bodies stores the extra calories as fat. If you mismanage your money, you end up with financial woes too numerous too count. The extra calories here would not be akin to what you actually consume, but what you desire to consume. It is this longing for money and the things money can buy (The Bible calls this "greed") that makes us bloated and sluggish in our thinking so that we cannot make wise financial choices.
This love of money gets us quickly into a place of spiritual and financial sickness. That is how finances trip us up.
"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs," (I Timothy 6:9-10 NIV)
Let's walk away from the sickness of greed and love of money. Let's move on into a healthy financial heart and lifestyle where money is a tool God gives us to provide for our needs, bless others, and extend His Kingdom to the ends of the earth.
Will this be hard to do in our culture? Yes! Of course, just as in our nation, we are always feasting instead of eating healthy, we are surrounded by lots of unnecessary spending too.
Let's stop indulging and learn the joy and contentment of self-restraint.
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)