"Money won't make you happy... but everybody wants to find out for themselves." 

 - Zig Ziglar

"There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men."  - Billy Graham

Ken was making a six-figure income as a sales rep for a manufacturing company. A top performer in his company; he had won numerous awards and trips as bonuses for his sales figures. The fact that everyone saw him as a "success" made him even more conflicted about his growing dissatisfaction with his job and his life. Inside he felt miserable and was becoming increasingly depressed.        

No longer satisfied with just earning money; he wanted to do something with his life that mattered. "I want to find God's will for my life and career. I just fell into being a sales rep out of college, and although I'm good at it, it just feels empty," he confessed. "I don't want to waste any more time doing something other than what God wants me to do." He wondered, though, if he really would be willing to follow a different career path if it meant earning less money.

Money's Seductive Power

We can empathize with Ken's struggles, can't we? Whether you earn a little or a lot, if you are like most people you wrestle with money's hold on your heart and mind. Money is not a neutral thing; it has intrinsic power with potential for being used for good or for evil. There is nothing inherently wrong with making a lot of money. God has chosen to bless many of His people with substantial wealth.

God knows, however, that making prosperity your life's goal will never bring true fulfillment or satisfaction. "Accumulating money or stuff is a vision of sorts," acknowledges Andy Stanley (pastor and author). "But it is the kind of vision that leaves men and women wondering what they could have done-should have done-with their brief stay on this little ball of dirt." Stanley exhorts us, "Without God's vision, you may find yourself in the all too common position of looking back on a life that was given to accumulating green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them." Hmmm...that's a different way of viewing money, isn't it?

Which Master are You Serving?

Living your calling may not require a reduction in your income or major changes in your lifestyle. In fact, when your work aligns with your God-given design of skills and interests, you may find that you earn more money, not less because you have both the ability and the motivation to pursue excellence. The key issue, however, is that God wants you to come to the place where you are willing to live on less money if doing what He wants you to do requires it. He wants you to value obedience to Him more than money and material possessions.

Money -- perhaps more than any other enticement -- has the power to lure us away from becoming who God created us to be and doing what He designed us to do. Jesus knew that a life focused on money could not be focused on God. He knew how easily money can become an idol in our lives, which is why he said things like, "No one can serve two masters....You cannot serve both God and Money" (Matthew 6:24). Sixteen of his 38 parables were about how to handle money and possessions. Howard Dayton pointed out that "in the Gospels, an amazing one out of 10 verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions."

Money is a "Calling Blocker"

A "calling blocker" is something that gets in the way of your discovering and/or doing the things God is calling you to do with your life. Money is a calling blocker for you if it dulls your sensitivity to God's voice; entices you to compromise morally, ethically or spiritually; or entraps you by imprisoning you in your lifestyle and/or your debt. Sadly, money has ensnared many of God's people, their lives illustrating the truth of God's Word: "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 a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:9-10).