Finding Freedom from the Love of Money
- 2011 14 Feb
I still remember the first time I laid my eyes on her. I was five years old, and I knew we were meant to be together. When I touched her face, I felt empowered. Even though she didn't feel the same way about me, it didn't matter. I knew I had to have her.
As time went on, my love for her grew without bounds. Yet, she didn't seem to notice me. It seemed as though she was more interested in everyone else.
When I became a teenager I couldn't get her out of my mind. I knew if she would just give me a chance, I could make her happy. She sure made me happy.
Time continued to pass, and there were others that tickled my fancy, but they never seemed to make me feel the way my first love did. I was hopeless. Several times I thought I was ready to give her up, but I just couldn't. I knew my feelings were not being returned. It was impossible for her to love me the way that I loved her, but I still held out hope. I thought she could make me feel secure. The more time I spent with her, the more I loved her.
When I went to college I realized I needed her more than ever. No doubt, she was at the forefront of my thoughts. Then, I met a girl named Apryl. Apryl was smart, beautiful, and had a great personality. She made me feel the same way I did for my first love. At times, I even had feelings I never had before. Within a couple of years, Apryl and I were married, and I thought she would certainly help my feelings subside for my first love.
But, marriage didn't save me. I finally revealed my first love to my wife, and she admitted she knew of my feelings and that she still loved me. She vowed to help me work though this with me.
That's so typical of my wife. She is full of wisdom and grace. She knew that my love for money was serious and that as long as I continued to love money, I couldn't grow closer to God. She reminded me of the verse that says "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)
That's right -- my love was for money. I, like so many others, erroneously believed money was the key to happiness. It's been ten years since I realized money was incapable of making me happy, and now I understand clearly why money makes a horrible Valentine.
Why Money Makes a Horrible Valentine
As we celebrate Valentine's Day this month, let's take a closer look at the reasons money makes a bad Valentine. This is a reminder we all need from time to time.
1. She can't love you back.
Money isn't necessarily bad - it's amoral. It has no feelings. It can't say "I love you." It can't hold you when times are tough. It can't sacrifice for your greater good. Sure, it can provide some temporary satisfaction, but nothing that lasts. Many have given all their love to money and not one of those individuals ever felt a warm embrace. No matter how hard you try, you can't make money love you. She is a cruel aficionado.
2. It's more difficult to keep her interest than to lose her interest.
When given a choice between spending and saving, most of us would choose spending. When we spend money, it's impossible to earn interest on it. You can only earn interest when you save money. Even those who do earn interest by successfully saving their money find keeping their money a challenge over the long term. It's just so much easier to get rid of money than hold onto it. (Too bad weight isn't like that). Because money doesn't love you, it always seems to be working against you. Remember, she doesn't care either way. No matter how much money you have, if you struggle with controlling your spending she'll offer no help or support - she may even become your worst enemy.
3. She offers a false sense of security.
It's easy to think if we just have more money, we'll have control over our lives. But the truth is, even money can't offer us perfect safety and security. Life throws some pretty unexpected things our way sometimes, and even if we've saved money, our finances can still be drained. Even those with an overabundance of money in their lives will discover there are many problems money can't fix. As attractive as she might appear, money is not capable of fulfilling all your needs. Only God can do that.
4. She doesn't appreciate the nice things you buy
I knew I had a problem when I kept buying things and my money just didn't seem to care. She never rejoiced in a long-awaited purchase or celebrated when I got a good deal. She never tried to stop me when I overspent, and she really didn't care when I saved. She didn't even get jealous when I used her to buy gifts for others.
Real Valentines for My Daughters
Speaking of spending money on others, as the father of three girls, I sometimes wonder how I will feel when boys come along and try to steal their hearts. My wife and I have discussed dating and how old we think our girls should be before they can go on their first dates. As of now, we've decided on 16 (though I often think 30 is much better). When I told my oldest daughter, Hannah (currently six years old) that she had to wait until she was 30, she said "Daddy, how come you didn't have to wait until 30?" Just what are they teaching her in school anyway? Math?
When I think about the fact that Hannah will be "eligible" to date in a mere 10 years, I realize that from my perspective there is not one boy that will make a good Valentine. But, even if I think every boy that comes along is a bad Valentine, I know money will always make a worse one. If we don't raise our daughters to have a godly perspective on money, they could face some pretty big obstacles in life, especially their spiritual lives. That's why we've started teaching Hannah about putting money in perspective and not placing too much importance on acquiring the "almighty" dollar. While it's true that money is necessary on a practical level, it doesn't need to control her life and it is not worth giving her love to. She can like it, just not love it, because it will only break her heart.
This Valentine's Day, ask yourself who you really love. If you find you've given your love to money, remember it will only break your heart. Then, turn to the One who will never break your heart, and ask Him to help you find freedom from the hold money has on you.
Steve Scalici is a Certified Financial PlannerTM with Treasure Coast Financial. He is co-host of God's Money, which can be heard on the internet at www.oneplace.com. You can contact Steve at email@example.com.