"Just trust Jesus, send us a check, and you’ll be blessed with abundant riches!”
“Just purchase this item for [insert ludicrous amount] and you’ll be instantly happy!”
“Just swipe this card and forget about it—no worries!”
It’s easy to spot bald-faced lies like these. Their deception is obvious and, for people of faith, it’s simple to see that these sorts of ideas have no place in a life of wise financial stewardship. But other money-lies aren’t as easy to spot; some distorted ideas about money can still sneak into our minds and hearts. Consider these:
1. If I Only Had a Little More
I’ll admit it: occasionally I daydream about a financial windfall. What would I do if zillions of dollars showed up on my doorstep or if I somehow won the lottery (without actually playing it)? Life sure would be better, wouldn’t it, if I didn’t have to worry about medical bills or college savings? Think of all the good I could do with all that extra money!
While a bit of daydreaming may be harmless, a real danger lies in thinking that a bit more money can solve our problems. Why? According to Patricia Raybon, it’s because often the issues aren’t so much tied to the numbers in the checking account as they are to the mindset we bring to the money we have. In “God, Money, and You,” Patricia shares her own experience of receiving an inheritance and how it pushed her to face—and change—her own money mindset.
But let’s be honest: we all long for more. And this very human longing—whether it’s for more money, better clothing, a different body, a nicer home—ultimately masks a deeper yearning: our longing for Jesus himself. In “Confessions of a Recovering Materialist,” Jenn Shuffle describes how her own family’s tight financial circumstances have led her to understand contentment in a new light.
2. The Cheaper, the Better
Saving money is a great way to be a wise steward of our financial resources; it can allow us to plan prudently and give generously. But is “cheap” always the way to go? Many young Christian entrepreneurs are asking instead what the real costs of cheaply made goods are. How are the workers who made that dirt-cheap sale item paid? Might the low price of an item indicate the low value placed on impoverished workers who created it?
In “It’s (Not) All About the Money,” Corrie Cutrer spotlights three Christian women whose businesses do just the opposite; their goods help to provide dignified work and improved living conditions for their employees. Instead of going for “cheap,” these products aim for ethical; instead of targeting the lowest price point, these entrepreneurs are aiming for the common good. When you spend your money—or perhaps work on your own business innovations—how can you aim to better the lives of others?
3. My Money, My Business
As Christians, none of us would overtly say this—we understand that our money is God’s and that we’re entrusted with it as stewards. Yet this idea that money matters are primarily private and personal can still wiggle it’s way into our lives.
As a mom, I tend to keep money discussions pretty private; for example, my husband and I don’t discuss our monthly budget with our kids or toss numbers around over the dinner table. But Money Saving Mom Crystal Paine challenges me in her interview with Margot Starbuck, do I have a real sense of money as a family affair? Crystal urges moms to consider what our money habits are modeling for our kids—and to more proactively consider how our grown-up money decisions can shape their future stewardship.
Perhaps one of the most critical ways this insidious idea that money is primarily a personal matter is impacting believers is when it comes to our financial giving. It’s important to try to help others, but current trends show that while giving to nonprofits is on the rise, giving to churches is on the decline. After all, isn’t how we give our money up to us? And are we really required to give to our church if we’re facing our own financial struggles? In “How Much Should I Tithe?” financial experts Dave Ramsey, Ruth Soukup, and David Croteau weigh in on tithing and provide a variety of opinions about our obligation—or lack thereof—to give a set percentage to our home church when we’re in the middle of a money crunch.
Balancing the budget can feel like work enough—but God invites us into some serious heart-work when it comes to money. How can we think more like Jesus? How can we tease out dangerous money ideas that may have infiltrated our way of thinking and, instead, align ourselves with Christ’s countercultural call when it comes to our finances?
Our hope is that these articles will give you guidance as you give, save, spend . . . and pray.
3 Dangerous Ideas About Money
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