Money is a great servant but a terrible master. Think about money like social media. Social media has revolutionized how we interact, and there are some legitimately great things we can do online, keeping up with friends and family who live in other parts of the world. Social media is a great servant, but a terrible master. What if someone is online all the time, to the point where they neglect their real life relationships? What if someone sees how perfect everyone else’s life appears and gets depressed because theirs doesn’t measure up? What if someone becomes a person of hate on social media and tears other people down because they think they have a level of anonymity allowing them to become the worst possible version of themselves? Have you ever wanted to say to someone, “You need to get off social media, it’s ruining you!” Just like social media, money is a great servant, but a terrible master. Here are three ways to loosen the death grip that money has on your soul:
1. Put yourself on a ‘diet.’ We get this concept with food (we don’t follow it well, but we get it). A little bit of sugar, a little big of cholesterol, a little bit of calories, can be a good thing. But what if we literally ate nothing but junk food all the time? Our bodies would eventually break down. A little bit of money is a good thing, but too much unadulterated money all the time can lead to our destruction. So, just as you’ve gotten older and realize your body isn’t invincible and you need to watch what you eat, so you need to put yourself on a diet with money.
Instead of approaching money with the idea of: more, more, more, approach it with the idea of, “what do I need to live on and how can I leverage the rest to make a difference?” If you’re an empty nester, if you’re at the pinnacle of your career, if your income is starting to dwarf your expenditures and you’re trying to figure out what to do with all that extra money, put yourself on a diet. Figure out what you need to live on, and invest the rest to make a difference rather than wastefully indulging your materialistic urges.
2. Spend time leaning into things money can’t buy. If you spend time only around things you can buy, you’ll begin to believe that money equals happiness. Put down your electronics, turn off the television, go outside, spend time with your family. Teenagers, you can spend every minute of your teenage life with your head stuck in an electronic, but what you’re doing is teaching yourself that happiness comes from something you can buy. Next time your mom wants you to put down the cell phone and spend time with the family, do it!
Even better, instead of getting that newest iPhone, spend that money on a mission trip. Go overseas, see the world, realize just how rich you are and how happiness has nothing to do with money. Empty nesters, one of the great investments you can make is to send your kids, grandkids or youth on a mission trip so that they can break the death grip of money before they even start their careers.
3. Start becoming a giver. Giving is the only antidote to greed. If you want to keep the pursuit of money from ruining your life, you need to learn to become a giver. What would it look like to begin to give money back to God? Your trust in God would increase because you’ll learn that God is faithful and He will provide for you when you trust in Him. And when you intentionally begin to give with your money, you break its power. It no longer controls you, you begin to control it. You become the master.