For the Love of money: Life in the Fast Lane

Today, as this is being written, it is Martin Luther King Jr’s Day.  King was known for his compassion, boldness and his peaceful way of upsetting the status quo.  He once stated, “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”

The Eagles sang about this, and King Solomon warned about this, yet many people still crave this kind of success.  Still, the fact remains, “Money makes itself wings like an eagle and flies toward the heavens vanishing in the wink of an eye.”  Regardless, the urge to get more money still drives men wild and women crazy as if they had never heard, “The love of money is the root of all evil”?

Obviously, we all need money to survive, so money itself can’t be evil as some have misunderstood this to mean.  Still, when an all-embracing determination for acquiring more money becomes the sole focus, when the gains occur at the expense of others instead of through mutual agreement and willing exchange, or when contentment has been abandoned for the hope of safety and security which money promises but can never provide, then the love of money has replaced the need for money and can easily “make you lose your mind.”

A careful recollection of what wrought the joy, fulfillment and contentment of yesterday, last week or last year, reveals what is most important for today.  People, family, friends, neighbors, loved ones and relationships are what make life valuable, not money or even what money can buy! Consequently, focusing on what is most valuable puts the value of money into perspective. “For the whole world struggles to obtain what our Heavenly Father already knows we need. But to those who seek His Kingdom first, these things will be added.”

It has been said, “The humble are fortunate because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.”  Being humble is an entrance requirement to the Kingdom of Heaven yet, by-in-large, the pursuit of money doesn’t lend itself to imparting humility.  Consequently, history is amply packed with people, as well as entire cultures, who have lionized the pursuit of riches and in so doing have deified making money.

Charles Wesley encouraged people to “Make all you can, save all you can and give all you can,” while Benjamin Franklin determined never to prostitute himself for the sake of a more comfortable subsistence.  My mentor, Nelson Nash, spoke frequently about how modern conveniences become necessities, referring to what is known, in some circles, as Hedonic Adaptation.  The bottom line is this.  Money is only valuable for what it can do, not for what it can’t do.  As money cannot buy you love, make you happier, make you a better person, more money will only make you worse than you already are, if you don’t become a better happier and lovelier person despite how much money you have or make.  This is the truth behind the story of new wine being reserved for new wineskins. It prevents the old skins from bursting and ruining both the old skin and the new wine. Money gained by someone who hasn’t changed their nature will be ruined by the money, and the money will have been wasted.

In 1976 Abba released a song with these lyrics, “Money, Money, Money, always sunny in a rich man’s world.” Contrarily, research has proven, 18 months after coming into money people become less happy than they were prior to the money influx. Money simply cannot buy for you what you alone are responsible for acquiring for yourself, namely happiness and contentment.  “Money has never made anyone happy, nor will it; there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more one has the more one wants.”

So, slow down and stop trying to get rich hastily.  If you don’t slow down, you are at risk of losing the most important things in life.  Instead of pursuing money so hard, give more credence to the real fortunes you have already been provided in life and which money can never buy like:

  • Time
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Mutual Respect, and
  • Laughter

Neil Diamond sang it best back in 1978, “Money talks, but it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk.” Life is short and there is a time and place for everything under the sun.  Make sure to look after the important things in life and the rest will be there to enjoy as well. But when the focus drifts to the material even the material things acquired will merely be required of us.

Owning participating whole life insurance is a way of showing respect for others.  And yet, an added benefit in owning participating whole life is the ability to use the cash values of the policy prior to the death of the policyholder. Interestingly, those who do so add more value to the policy much like those who seek the Heavenly Kingdom first have all the mundane things in life added as well.

Remember, “It is the Lord who adds wealth to your life, and He adds no sorrow with it.” While, “Those who focus on getting rich are ensnared by many traps which plunge them into ruin and destruction.” Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.  Be smart and confine yourself to spending and expanding upon the genuine fortunes of life, knowing everything else will be added.

Dr. Tomas McFieDr. Tomas P. McFie

Most Americans depend on Social Security for retirement income. Even when people think they’re saving money, taxes, fees, investment losses and market volatility take most of their money away. Tom McFie is the founder of McFie Insurance which helps people keep more of the money they make, so they can have financial peace of mind. His latest book, A Biblical Guide to Personal Finance, can be purchased here.