Some people dream about becoming wealthy. Even from a young age, I suspected that wasn’t my destiny. I wasn’t born into money, and none of the careers of interest to me were ones that make a person rich (except in very race instances). But I was okay with that. From my parents, I learned how to work hard and be content.
Certainly I’d daydream about what it might be like to shop without calculating or checking price-tags, but my happiness didn’t depend on how much stuff I had. And I learned from (and had awe for) those people who were at peace with much less—who maintained their faith and joy in the face of an unpaid bill or unexpected expense.
By the time I reached college, I was certain I wouldn’t be rich unless I married into it. And someone (perhaps my mother) once told me that marrying for money is the world’s worst job—that you will earn every penny, and it won’t be worth it. I took that to heart. I vowed never to choose money over love.
The older I got the more I saw that while money can procure comforts and provide privileges, it’s powers are not limitless. Money can’t buy the things that make life most worth it. And there are no prizes given upon dying for how much you spent during your life or left in savings.
Money isn’t joy. Fame isn’t love. Wealth isn’t health. And accomplishments aren’t happiness. These things can be connected, but there must be context. There must be contentment.
What greater goal is there than a life full of love, joy, and the ability to be satisfied? And these are things that are not inextricably linked to one’s finances.
Money can buy you a comfortable bed, but it can’t give you sweet dreams. Being rich can fly you first class around the world, but it can’t make you comfortable in your own skin.
Although I know better than to value myself based on how much I make, there is still a part of me that doesn’t fully separate success from financial gains. It’s a lesson I must keep learning in this world that routinely defers to wealth and pursues profits over justice. So often we presume fame implies intelligence and act as though success has no obligation to fairness. Too often we confuse net worth with various virtues and place more stock in labels than values.
I don’t want to pursue depth in shallow or superficial things. I don’t want to strive for success in areas that are trivial or fleeting. It’s tempting to be a sprinter, but I want to invest in the long run—in whatever is lasting and meaningful. I want to be content with being comfortable. I don’t want to think I need to have it all.
Wealth is not the enemy so long as it’s paired with character, compassion, and humility. Money isn’t evil, but so much harm has been done to sate greed. Having more can lead to wanting more. Getting a lot can lead to giving less. Generosity and greed are matters of the heart. They have no fixed monetary amount. They’re relative.
As a Christian, I don’t ever want to have too much money to also have faith—to start believing that what I have I made or earned all by myself. I don’t want to become too rich to be grateful or generous. I hope that I can permanently remove any links between my joy, peace, or self worth and my bank statement.
I want to get to the point where I don’t worry about money or daydream too much about having more. Having a lot of wealth is less important than having a lot of faith in God and His promises of provision.