When I was little I used to hate money. It was a dirty word. In my naivety, I thought that if we eradicated money we’d eradicate the injustice I saw in the streets. I remember asking God why some people had so much and others had so little. Why did He allow it to be that way? You see, even as a child I was tempted to blame God for the corruption I saw in mankind. However, every time we think about these big questions we need to question how we relate to them on a personal level. What was it about money that bothered me so much?
My belief that money was poisonous stemmed from the fact that it mediated a big part of my relationship with my dad. After my parents’ divorce, I was in charge of reminding him of all the expenses he was responsible for. It was annoying to talk about bills. It made me feel like I was in a business transaction with him when I really just wanted to talk about my day. Truth is, none of us has answers to the brutality we experience in this fallen world. None of us has the capacity to know the human heart or to know God’s ways. We only know what our ever-limited brain is capable of grasping in a moment in time; but Eternity is never fully captured by the briefness of creation. While this may sound hopeless, it is not. When money seems to be the hindrance (or only solution), when we doubt, fear, and flirt with helplessness, right then, in the midst of blinding anxiety is when we find out that heartache this side of eternity is inevitable. But that’s also when we find out for ourselves that the Creator allows no pain to go to waste.
It still is annoying to me to think about bills. I believe I am not alone in this. However, there’s more to our shared issue with money than just the “annoyance” of bills and responsibilities. Money mediates our interpersonal relationships on many levels – from negotiating a raise to buying a gift that symbolizes how much we care for someone. We are constantly taught that money can buy things that will define our identity and make us happy. Unfortunately, many of us buy into that lie and learn to believe that money can bring us joy and a stress-free life. However, the Holy Spirit has a way of uncovering our incongruences with truth, grace, and love. While being faced with the bare condition of our heart hurts, it also leads us to the source of all the provision we need. And in that place, undressed of our self-righteousness, we’re reminded that there is Hope; and that the burden of change isn’t solely on us.
When He walked on Earth, Christ displayed love, discipline, wisdom, and obedience. He made Himself a sacrifice so that we would know what that looks like. We will never be perfect this side of Heaven, but we are called to obey, to trust, to submit, and to give up on our fears and incongruences once He sheds light into our consciousness and we become aware of what He requires of us. And every time we fail, we are called to try again. That is a very personal and intimate process, but its results echo louder than we might perceive. In relation to money, to some of us it means giving up on unnecessary purchases and exercising wisdom, it means learning how to do a budget, and start saving. It means being generous, and attending to the needs of the least of these. To others it may mean letting go of tomorrow and living grounded in today. Learning to entrust our worries to Him and taking hold of his promise. Choosing to believe his faithful provision in the “what”, “when”, “why” and “how”. It isn’t easy, but with Him all things are possible.
I’ve grown to believe that money can mean much more than heartache and worry. It can be a blessing as it demonstrates how God has entrusted us with the stewardship of some of his resources. When we realize that everything is from Him, through Him and for Him we understand what an honor it is to participate in his kingdom as coheirs with Christ, and as faithful servants of the all-sufficient King. The thing is, we will never truly know what that means until we allow Him to expose our biases, our fears, our misconceptions, and our gods. When unbelief penetrates our hearts we lose track of his love, provision, and faithfulness. We miss out on our true treasure: God himself.
There are many resources available to educate us on financial matters. Consistency is key, as is a clear understanding of what needs to be changed. While having achievable goals is relevant, having a healthy relationship with money is just as important. And it seems to start with a healthy heart. That is a lifelong endeavor and no one need tackle it on their own. Thankfully, there is a love that bridges gaps and doesn't condemn deficit. And that love has wisdom in abundance to those in need.
Lici is a graduate student from Brazil. She is essentially an extrovert who's really bad at small talk. She serves at Skyline and loves all things blue, tasty and insightful.