I have this love-hate relationship with money. I’d love to have more and hate that I don’t. Sometimes I like to imagine what I’d do if someone from Publishers Clearing House arrived at the front door with a big check.
I’d tithe of course, because that’s what good boys do. Then I’d be off to the races. Well, maybe not the races, because that’s not a good-boy thing. Perhaps the opera.
I do have a list of people I’d want to help with some of my bounty, but it’s a shorter one than of the things I’d like to get or do for myself. This may be why God has yet to answer one of my favorite prayers: “Please give me lots of money so I could show You how it wouldn’t spoil me.”
Too late, you—and He—may be thinking.
Now, I’ve read about the lottery winners whose lives end in misery. And, yes, being rich doesn’t necessarily make you happy. But, as someone once observed, it sure makes being miserable more comfortable.
One time I edited a book by someone who wrote about the spiritual struggles that followed unexpected great wealth. Cry me a river, right? Actually, Julian Archer’s HELP! I’ve Been Blessed!: How to Stop God’s Blessings From Becoming Curses is a very thought-provoking read on our attitude to wealth, well worth an investment of your time and money, whatever your net worth.
Truth to tell, in my years as a journalist, I have been on enough press junkets to know, like writer Taylor Antrim, that moving in money circles can be dangerous. At the end of the day, this may not be good for me.
Prosperity gospel preachers who maintain riches are a sign of God’s blessing can’t follow the news very much. How do they explain the millions going to drug dealers, gun runners, sex sellers, and corrupt politicians? And you’ll never hear them give a sermon based on Genesis 42:35.
That verse is part of the story of Joseph, when he’s running Egypt for Pharaoh. The famine Joseph predicted is so bad his conniving brothers have come down from neighboring Canaan to buy some food.
Having failed to recognize Joseph, they leave Simeon behind as collateral, as required. Then they head home with the food they—think—they have bought. Only, unbeknownst to them, Joseph has put their money back in their travel bags.
They realize this when they unpack. “And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid,” the Bible tells us. No high-fives and hallelujahs at pennies from heaven. They were afraid of so much money. Because money costs something.
One time I spent an amusing half-hour observing the antics of a sports team killing time before a flight from Salt Lake City. They sat around the airport watching other passengers walking by reach down for a dollar bill on the ground not far from where they were sitting. Then they would laugh heartily as the money would flutter away from the outstretched hand of the person bending to snatch it up.
The reason for the sports team’s chuckles? One of the guys was tugging on a piece of invisible fishing line tied to the bill. Money always comes with strings attached. The question is, who—or what—is on the other end?