Philip Wasserman wrote an interesting piece (July 4) on money, riches, and wealth — and a survey conducted by the people at Charles Schwab, and on my birthday, no less! That was the “worldly” perspective. But there is another perspective on such things … the “spiritual” perspective.
Although I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination, I have found many useful gems of wisdom and truth in that book that is now called the Bible — even an atheist can do that.
Here are some of my favorite lines regarding “worldly” wealth in that book (especially the Gospel according to Matthew — pretty cool dude):
1: “Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” Matt 6:19
2: “Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me’ … ‘And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’” – Matt 19:21-24
3: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (material wealth).” – Matt 6:24
Although I don’t think Jesus had anything against making money in and of itself, as is evidenced by the parable of the talents, I do think he was warning people not to think of money as something more than what it really is.
Money buys whatever’s for sale, but that’s about all it does.
I think he was also warning people not to delude themselves into believing money makes them better or better off than others (Proverbs 22:2).
Finally, I think Jesus was trying to help people see that there’s no point in accumulating more (of anything) than you really need, which is actually a symptom of “spiritual poverty,” that and of fear and insecurity in general.
Striving for wealth can also develop into a full-blown addiction. Live simple … travel light (Matt 11:30). It’s healthier for the body, mind and soul. Too much of anything comes with its own headaches — headaches I’m glad I don’t have.
Or, as my grandmother would say, “If you need money to be happy, then you will never have enough.”