Money Can Become a Servant or a Master
P.T. Barnum once said, “Money is a terrible master, but an excellent servant.” I couldn’t agree more, but there’s a component necessary to preventing money from becoming our master in the first place and having it serve excellently — our hearts.
The money we have been entrusted with, whether it be a little or a lot, will never serve excellently until our hearts are detached from it. If this does not occur, money will compete with our devotions and catapult us into the dangerous territory of idolatry.
The word “idolatry” tends to cause us to think of ancient times, when sacrifices were made to statues of gods. However, idolatry can be less visual and more internal. Idolatry is actually a heart condition. It is where our heart goes, and it leads us to satisfy our internal desires for security, stability and safety.
For example, do we view our job as our source of security and primary identity? Do we feel the size of our paycheck and savings accounts determines our safety and validity? Do we view other people as our source of worth and emotional stability? If so, all of these things reveal our heart’s condition and the idol(s) we seek to meet our “needs.”
Clearly, money is at the center of much of this. Our jobs provide money. Money can provide us with many blankets of security. We find that people respond to us differently based on the size of our bank accounts.
Because of that, money attracts the devotions of our hearts through the immediate gratification it provides. We can see it, touch it, spend it and use it to get us what we want, when we want it — including applause from others.
Our hearts desire something to cling to, and if we aren’t careful, and wise, money will quickly be made our master because of all the reasons listed and more.
Ultimately, we must detach our hearts from money. We must not get caught up in the lie that our self-worth is tied to our net worth. However, this battle is not easily won, for we are surrounded by influences that tell us the opposite is true.
However, if our hearts are detached enough to view money merely as a resource to be managed, we can begin acquiring the skills and discipline necessary to manage it properly, just like any other skill and workable resource. The key is to seek skills from sources whose “heart” is also detached from money.
Heart, perspective and prioritization are everything when it comes to mastering money rather than having it master you. The good news is resources are out there and so are good mentors. I personally appreciate faith-based resources, and, thankfully, they are abundantly available. Take the time to invest in them and to seek them out.