Sunday, April 30, 2006

Money & Freedom

One of the most bizzare concepts for me to grasp, is that of money. How can a little piece of paper or little piece of metal hold so much power? These little pieces of paper are not actually worth anything. The only reason we accept them is because they're promissory notes written by the government, and we trust that our country's government will always be able to back the currency. It could be the case that you wake up tomorrow and your money has no value; but it had value in the past and we assume it will have the same power in the future, so we all use it.

This isn't even the crazy part. The crazy part is what lengths we go to get these promissory notes. For this 'money' we'll sell our bodies, our minds, and our souls. To some, money is a prison, an addiction. It promises freedom, happiness, and security, but these promises are empty.

Now, I'm not trying to give the impression that I'm above money's influence or that I think people with money are evil, actually quite the opposite. Many people who say that material things are not important, are not good with money, and so find themselves in debt or simply without the resources to follow through on their dreams (With this inability to reach goals or dreams, an individual starts to lose their childlike sense of wonder... this includes me). On the other hand, I have met people who are extremely wealthy, who seem very free because they are able to pursue their dreams without financial worries.

In Matthew 19 it says,

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

This is the passage that we always seem to talk about in the church, but what is it saying? Is it saying that people who are rich will not enter heaven? ... or is it saying that the person who has become a slave to money (rather than master of it) will not enter heaven? ... It seems to me that the person who is up to their ears in debt is just as much a slave to their money as a person who is unwilling to part with great wealth.

Rather than being evil itself, money seems to be an amplifier of a person's character. If the person is greedy, their wealth will only make them more greedy; however, the generous person will become more generous as their wealth increases (I guess this means they won't stay wealthy).

I don't think God intended us to be slaves to money or live in debt. I think God would prefer that we were free from debt, able to lend people money, rather than always borrow money. I find that the more money I borrow from loved ones and from the government, the more I tend to be ashamed of who I am and less in control of who I'm becoming. Through this process, a little bit of that childlike wonder is diminished.

In this world (North America) where money equals success and power, it's hard to hold fast to the idea that money is just a meaningless invention of humankind. My sense of wonder is drawn towards things that money can buy, rather than that which is eternal and priceless. I long for simplicity... I wonder what it was like when people lived as hunters and gatherers, or as simple farming communities? Were they more able to focus on the wonder of God?

I think we can rediscover a lost sense of wonder through exposure to God's creation (nature), through solitude (and/or silence), and through people. Sometimes I find it hard to focus on the wonder of God in the city; with its noise, its bright lights, and its bar-graph shaped skyline. Good thing there are a lot of people in the city. I love watching people and seeing their quirks, etc. I'm filled with a sense of wonder when I try and figure out what makes a person tick, or why they do what they do. I hope I never lose this fascination, and I hope that one day I will be free from debt (...and no longer a slave of money).

I leave with a passage from Proverbs 22...

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all."


Blogger It's a Nicky said...

Hey we just had this guy speak at our church and it was really interesting. He travels around the world and finds where God is moving and then he and his team just ask how they can help. Usually it is places where the gospel is spread to people so fast they can't keep up.

He had amazing stories of what God was doing in these places. The reason I am telling you this is because he said the biggest problem for us in Canada (as far the move of God's spirit) is "materialism".

I thought that was really interesting. It was these people who had nothing that God was moving upon. Materialism took the place of wonder for us. So yeah. Just thought I would share that.

PS Down with Money.


7:45 p.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

good stuff man.

12:35 a.m.  

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