Is more money the solution to all of your problems?
How you relate to money will, in large measure, determine how happy you are in life.
We've been so conditioned in our materialistic culture to measure success by how much income someone makes. But if that were true, the athlete who makes $30 million a year would be more successful than the first grade teacher who makes $20,000 a year. The CEO who makes $8 million a year would be more worthwhile than a nursing home worker who makes $17,000 a year.
An eye-opening thought
But that's not how God measures success. Think about this for a minute:
People will not be honored in heaven for how much they earned in life, but for how much they helped other people.
Imprint that truth in your mind and never forget it: There is no money in heaven.
Jesus was practical. Jesus was realistic. He didn't deny that we need an income to live. His foster father, Joseph, ran a successful carpentry business and supported his family with it. Joseph needed to buy food, fuel, clothing, and other necessities.
Jesus recognizes the need for money. He just doesn't want us to become obsessed with it.
When we think about acquiring wealth more than we think about God, we turn money into our god, and break the First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God. You shall not place other gods before me."
Someone noticed that in the Gospels, Jesus spoke about money much more often than he did about heaven. That's because money is such a big part of our lives and can become one of our biggest problems.
What money can do
Yes, it's true that money can solve some of your problems. It can pay for the things you can't live without, like food, health care, a place to live, utilities, and a car to take you to work.
When you go over your budget and find that you don't have enough for the bare necessities, it's time to look for a higher paying job or to get more education so you qualify for a higher paying job.
God wants us singles to be wise stewards of our finances. When we are, we find that we have more money than we thought we did.
Charles F. Stanley
Do you use shopping for anesthesia?
My brother has an interesting term for feel-good purchases. He calls them "anesthesia."
His theory is that the crummier our life is going, the more we try to fix it with these anesthetic purchases. They're a way of numbing our inner pain.
And we singles are especially vulnerable to this. We have a bad day or a bad week, so we buy something to "reward" ourself. The problem is that like real anesthestics, the numbing effect wears off after a short while. And just like people who get hooked on real painkillers, we can get hooked on these anesthetic purchases too.
There's nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself and rewarding yourself with some small item when you achieve your goal. But buying just to try to make yourself feel better seldom works.
Stores, and especially credit card companies, don't want us to think about why we buy something. They don't want us to mentally debate whether we really need it.
But once we slow down, think about it objectively, then wait a day or two or even a week before buying, we realize that we don't really need or even want that thing any more.
There are two ways to stop making anesthetic purchases. First, work on making your life more happy so you don't feel so much need to numb your pain. And second, find a reward that doesn't involve buying something. That's tough to do, but if you give it enough thought, you can figure something out.
If you're wise, at some point in your life you'll come to the conclusion that buying more stuff doesn't make you happy. When you do make that discovery, you'll make a gigantic stride toward learning what does make you truly happy.
Debt: Are you free--or a slave?