Boy, is that word filled with emotion. For some, it brings feelings of guilt, fear, anger, mistrust, scarcity or disappointment. For others, it can evoke feelings of security, comfort, gratitude, joy or abundance. In your mind just now, you likely were seeing yourself in some of these categories and running through reasons why you would place yourself in one or another.
You might naturally believe that those who have less money would be aligned with the negative and fearful connotations and those who have more would naturally feel more positive and secure. In reality, the amount you make or have in accounts (or under the mattress!) has very little to do with your mindset.
The roots of our emotions surrounding money are formed early on. Each of us interpreted what we experienced surrounding money - secrecy or openness, joy or anger, stinginess or generosity, saving and spending habits – and internalized it to see money as we do.
Now that we are adults, we continually add chapters to our money story. If we do it without purposeful thought, the chapters may have the same storyline as what we grew up with. They could be titled things like “I am What I Buy”, “I’ll Never Have Enough” or “I am Blessed Beyond Measure”. But, if we acknowledge our past and current attitudes toward money, we can learn a great deal and change the narrative to resemble what God intended for us around our money.
Wait … what? God has intentions for my money? Not exactly. He has intentions for us through the money he has entrusted to us. Many of us work very hard for the money we have, but all we have is a gift from God. And what we do with it is our gift back to Him. Rather than worrying about what humans have to say about our money (and the devil would love to have you believe), it is actually freeing to see what God has to say.
God must have known we would struggle to have a good and pleasing relationship with money as there is only one topic addressed more than money and possessions in Scripture—the Kingdom. Here are a few scriptures to help us start aligning ourselves with His intentions.
Trust God for your needs rather than worrying. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” —Matthew 6:25
When He gives you more, He expects you to cause it to overflow to those around you who are in need. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted much, much more will be asked.” —Luke 12:48
Don’t worry about what others have; be grateful and content with what you have. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’" —Hebrews 13:5
As you move forward in your financial story, consider inviting God to be the author. In doing so, you may just find there will be a depth to your character’s role that you could not have imagined on your own. God is pretty incredible like that, isn’t He?
Susan Bennett is a Financial Consultant with Thrivent in the Mid America / Great Lakes Region.