“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” —Benjamin Franklin
The possession of money is not contrary to a simplified life, but the love of money is. The love of money can never be satisfied. It is a hopeless love that always desires more. It is a wasted energy. And more than that, it keeps us, our attitude, and our actions in bondage.
When the love of money is present, freedom is not.
- The love of money consumes our time. Whether we are thinking about how to find it, make it, grow it, or save it, the desire to acquire more robs us of our most important and finite resource: time.
- The love of money wastes our energy. It requires constant, continual attention. After all, no opportunity to acquire more can ever be wasted.
- The love of money devours our values. When the love of money is present in our lives, we become different people. The passion for money is a trap that quickly swallows our heart convictions and causes us to engage in behaviors that we would otherwise avoid.
- The love of money fuels competition. By definition, the love of money requires me to desire what you already possess. For me to gain more, you must part with yours. The world quickly becomes a zero-sum game dominated by jealousy and envy.
- The love of money limits our potential. We can never become greater than that which we most desire. When the acquisition of money becomes our greatest goal in life, we can never become greater than the balance in our bank account. And that’s a shame… we have so many greater things to offer this world.
- The love of money attracts the love of money. Our lives will naturally attract like-minded people. When we love money, we attract others who love money. And the more reinforcement we receive from those around us, the more natural the emotion becomes.
- The love of money destroys other loves. The love of money causes many to sacrifice their true passions and desires just to acquire more of it. It has truly killed many a passionate dream. To determine if the love of money has killed your dreams, answer this question, “If the need for money were not a factor, what would I be doing today?”
How then do we move beyond the desire to acquire more? While entire books have been written on this subject, let me throw out a few thoughts just to get you started toward freedom from the desire to acquire:
1. See money only as a tool to move through life. At its core, money is a bartering tool. It saves us from making our own clothes, tools, and furniture. Because of currency, I can spend my days doing what I love and am good at. In exchange, I receive money to trade with someone else who uses their giftedness to create something different than me. That‘s it. That‘s its purpose. And if you have enough to meet your needs, you shouldn‘t commit the rest of your day to acquiring more.
2. Be content with poverty or great wealth. I know poor people who live in complete contentment and I know rich people who are further from contentment today than when they were lacking. Your possessions do not lead to contentment. Your heart attitude does. And if the love for money limits freedom, contentment is the pathway to it.
3. Avoid debt. A lender is a slave to his creditor. Spending more money than you earn will always result in bondage to another. And there is no simplicity in bondage. If you cannot get out from under the weight of debt, find some help.
4. Learn to share. Sharing your possessions with others benefits the borrower and the lender. So be a lender… and be a borrower.
5. Remember that money comes and money goes. Like the tides of the ocean, money rolls in and money rolls out. Sometimes, there is money left over at the end of the day and sometimes there is not enough. That is the very nature of money. Do not fear its cycles. Welcome them.
I have no hidden dreams of this post magically solving the world’s desire for more. I just hope it helps to balance mine…