The answer: Holding on to money is more difficult than making money.
Money in your hand is slippery, and very difficult to grasp. Have you ever experienced this phenomena? Read the stories of lottery winners. Read the sad stories of common people suddenly getting massive windfalls. The vast majority of lottery winners go bankrupt in a few years after receiving millions in cash. Millions…to nothing. In such a short time.
How does this happen?
It’s a principle taught by the best minds in history, and never better spoken than by the author of Ecclesiastes:
“When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?” Ecclesiastes 5:11
If you make ten dollars you will find something that costs ten dollars, or more, almost instantly. Is this not true? If you make one hundred dollars, something will need to be paid that requires one hundred dollars, or more. If you make five hundred…
And the same is true if you make $1000, $10,000, or $1M or more…to any amount.
No matter who you are, or what your income, whatever money you acquire will look for a home – away from you. It’s a fact of life. Keeping wealth in your possession is one of the hardest things to do, ever.
I believe there are a few reasons for this:
Money is Most Fun When It is Spent
We like making money, but we also like spending it. Why? Because it makes us feel a certain way. Spending gives us sensations we enjoy. If we pay bills with it, we feel secure, and at peace. If we buy things with it, we feel accomplished, or fancy, or cool. If we invest it, we feel intelligent.
Money Is Desired By Everyone Else Too
Money in your pocket is money NOT in someone else’s pocket. If that someone wants your money (which he does, in case you are wondering), he is going to try to get it. He will sell you something, or send you a bill, or sue you, or possibly steal from you. Everyone wants what is yours just as much as you do.
Money is Necessary for Existence
You probably don’t have cartons full of cash in your garage, do you? How about in pots and pans in the kitchen? Nope. You don’t, and I don’t either. But, we do have things worth lots of cash in our garages and kitchens. Thousands. We keep other things there because those things are not necessary for living. But, money IS NECESSARY. We have to have it to spend it, so losing it goes right alongside of acquiring it.
What does all this mean for a person who wishes to live wisely? Well, I believe there are some principles taught in Scripture which show us the right perspective on money. If we view money properly, it’s transient nature will affect us less.
Do not love money
If you love money, losing it will tear out your heart. We are told to love God, and to love people. But to love money creates many, many problems that are completely unnecessary. I Timothy 6:10
Know the condition of your finances
This is crucial to being a wise steward of what God has given you. Whether it’s your business or your personal bank account, being aware of it and attending to it enables you to make good choices with it. Proverbs 27:23
Give your money away
Give it away wisely, wherever you see the need. It’s part of being a good steward. Don’t believe me? Then I challenge you to try it. There is an almost unexplainable mystery in giving away what is your right to keep. If you willingly give it away, you undo the curse of trying to hold on to money and forever losing it. Yes, I understand that this defies explanation…BUT IT REALLY WORKS! Proverbs 22:9
The bottom line, when all has been spoken, is this: while money is a necessary part of our life, our life should never consist of making money. There is so much more to life! When money becomes an idol to us, the making of it becomes painful, the losing of it even more painful, and it will never, ever satisfy.
Only God really satisfies. Let’s hold onto that truth.