“The person who thinks the money he makes is meant mainly to increase his comforts on earth is a fool, Jesus says. Wise people know that all their money belongs to God and should be used to show that God, and not money, is their treasure, their comfort, their joy, and their security.”
– John Piper
The Top 3 Ways People Let Money Ruin Their Lives
As John Piper writes, people who think that money is life’s object completely miss the point. The point of money is to help people serve God and follow God. Money is merely a tool-a necessary one-but still a tool. Unfortunately, too many people mistake the tool for the objective and as a result live lives that fall far from the path Jesus laid out for them. Living one’s life for money and measuring life’s worth and value in terms of dollars and cents mean mistaking price for value. Sure, your net worth might have a lot of zeroes following a few other numbers but the value of your life is greatly reduced because the value of a life isn’t measured in dollars and cents. The value of one’s life is measured in terms of how many lives you touched, how many smiles you created, how many others you have helped. In other words, the value of one’s life is based solely on how well we reflected Christ’s character to others. Sadly, it is too easy to miss this. This is why I am listing out the top 4 ways people let money ruin their lives below.
How We Miss the Point of Money Insight #1: Measuring people’s value based on their net worth
The book of James had a very stern warning for the early Christian church: true believers should not discriminate among the brethren based on how wealthy they are. True Christian love views everyone as equal. Indeed, if you are a true Christian, you would know that what unites all of us humans, regardless of our skin color, national origin, religion, creed, or income, is that we are all sinners. This humbling realization should refocus our attention on the fact that God valued us so much that he took the form of a man to die for our sins. That’s our value. It has nothing to do with the amount of dollars in our bank accounts.
How We Miss the Point of Money Insight #2 Measuring the value of gifts based on price
It is too easy to measure emotional value based on how expensive a gift is. If the gift giver spent more money on the gift, we automatically assume they value us more. Talk about missing the point. The real value of the gift is the thought not the price tag. Indeed, it is a sign of a shallow relationship when the person giving the gift simply seeks to ‘buy off’ the receiver with a few extra dollars thanks to a pricey gift.
How We Miss the Point of Money Insight #3 Measuring achievements based on status
Subconsciously, most of us put people on a hierarchy based on their income. We put a value on their achievements depending on their income. If they have a prestigious job, like a doctor or lawyer, and their earn quite a bit of money, we tend to think more highly of them. The problem with this thinking is that we fail to see people the way Jesus saw us. You see, Jesus sees all of us as equal. We are all sinners needing a savior. By focusing on outer trappings of wealth and status, we blind ourselves from how we should see ourselves-as Jesus saw the church of Laodicea-poor, naked, wretched, and blind.
Make no mistake about it, as John Piper says, our poor understanding of money’s proper role and our poor view of money makes us all poor in what matters most. Keep the insights above in mind if you want to start looking at money the right way.