Have you ever been poor? I have. Not out on the street without a home or food, but definitely pay check to pay check, cheap food, balancing bills, which to pay, which can wait because you can’t pay them all and have money for food. At times, I worked two jobs and my wife worked, because better jobs without specific training or education were hard to find. We got by, the kids may have worn hand me downs or garage sale clothes, the cars we owned were older but ran. We weren’t homeless. In those regards, we were better off than some. But it was a struggle. Finally were doing a little better, I got some training and a job where I made a little better money, she had a better job too. Oh, it was still tough, but manageable compared to before. Then, I went to college and medical school. Student loans at first, but thank God for medical school I obtained a military scholarship that not only paid tuition and such, but I got a small stipend to help with expenses. I had to be what is called a geographic bachelor for the first two years, off to school for a week, home on weekends as school and home were a few hours apart and it would have been worse on the kids trying to move them to where I was in school and my wife had a pretty good job. Well, I shared an apartment with a classmate, cheap, but at least clean. Sometimes, my food for the day was a slice of bread and a can of vegetables or maybe some ramen noodles. I survived, and for the most part, I have not been one that lives to eat, but rather eats to live, so as long as something I was okay. But, in order to help avoid worse hardships on the kids, I did without a lot. Its what parents do. Well, finally done with med school, internship and residency. Income, but had student loans from college. But, at least could get a little in savings for emergencies. Still struggled the first few years but not as bad as previously. Finally, got to the point where income increased, student loans paid off and minimal other debt. Cars were always used (never been one to want to buy new cars and suffer the depreciation) but, had a house payment and utilities and such. Life was at least comfortable and did not have to do without. Gradually, we were able to build up some in savings. Now, still have house payment, utilities, groceries and such, but no massive credit card, car loans, or other debts. I thank God for that. I am not wealthy, but at least I don’t have to worry about how a bill is going to be paid, which I can put off a month or two an which have to be paid or the lights will be turned off and such. I can buy food without wondering if it will result in my having to do without something else that is also needed.
After having been poor and now decent pay, I did not want to be in the position of no money in bank for emergencies. So, I saved money. Not tons, my wife has been very good about making sure not too much gets saved but I guess that is how some are about money. If it is there, she would rather spend it on stuff. I would rather have the money for things I will need, not just things because the store had it and there was money with which to pay. A lot of the different attitudes that she and I, as well as many others have, about money is due to how people are raised. Her dad made good money, but he always had to have new cars or pick ups, expensive suits, her mom had to have expensive dresses. If they bought something, it had to be the good stuff. But, when it came to things like food they always tried to find the bargains. My dad described such people as penny wise and dollar wild. They worry about saving small amounts but throw big bucks away on luxury items. My parents were more conservative with money, bought used vehicles for the most part, not the most expensive clothing, maybe garage sales for some clothes and such. But, we weren’t poor, always had food, clothes, house, bills always paid. Never did without essentials and usually had some niceties. My folks, especially my dad, were fairly frugal. So, I learned to be more frugal, my wife learned from her folks to be the way towards money that they were and that caused issues when we were poor. But, at least when poor, she couldn’t waste it on expensive clothes and luxury items.
Well, seeing as I try to be frugal as well, not nearly like my folks, but more than a lot. I guess one would say I am conservative with money. I don’t love money, but I need it to survive, as I look to the future to plan for retirement and try to get my retirement savings taken care of for that time. Since I was poor I had been unable to save for retirement then, so trying to play catch up on that. However, due to my frugality, concern about future I have been told all I worry about is money, that I love money. No, I don’t love money, in fact, I have simple needs personally and could live in a card board box and be as ok as if I lived in a palace. I need money to pay bills, I don’t love it though.
Oh, there are those that love money, no doubt. Sometimes its the wealthy that love their money. I know some rich people, sometimes they are stingy, they don’t want to lose or use what money they have unless necessary, except when it comes time to try and show off and then will have fancy cars, fancy house, huge parties. All to show off for people what they can do with all their money. Others I have known that were wealthy were not in love with money. Oh, they had a lot in the bank, or lots of assets, real estate and such, but they weren’t misers. Funny thing is, a lot of poor people are more in love with money, more obsessed with money than those that have it. Not just the wealthy, but even middle class that are at least making enough they can pay all their bills if they are moderate with their spending. Houses not huge, no fancy cars, etc. The poor that are in love with money will rush to buy the luxuries as fast as they can, as quickly as they have the money in hand. Not worrying about the essentials like rent and utilities so they struggled till the next payday. Some poor people have learned how to survive fine with limited funds. They buy what they have to and not extras. Money is needed, but they don’t love money.
A couple weeks ago the pastor preached on money. He talked about some of the things I mentioned and that sometimes people, often those that don’t have much money but secretly love it, or some that make good money, but spend it as quick as they can but don’t have money for emergencies, will criticize the frugal. Kinda quoting scripture saying, “money is the root of all evil.” EXCEPT, that is not what the scripture says. They misquote the scripture, maybe because they want it to say what they want it to say, maybe because they never read that particular verse closely.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Timothy 6:10-11
It isn’t the money that is the root of evil, it is the love of it. The pastor preached that loving money was essentially making an idol out of it. Guess what, GOD DOES NOT LIKE IDOLS! I have to admit, I was one that did not read all of that verse, I had read it, but not really, maybe skimmed that part, or because I had always heard the phrase that money is the root of all evil, I didn’t pay close attention to what was written.
This can apply to material things that people want to buy, but don’t have the money saved and will use credit cards to purchase. Now, credit cards used properly are great tools, but if not used properly, can cause huge problems. Many years ago, my wife got some credit cards, used them, made the minimum payments, after a while, she used them more, still made only minimal payments, with the interests rates and such, we were paying almost $100 a month in credit cards and the balances were unchanged. Well, we had to get aggressive about paying those off, and it took several months to do so, but finally did, after doing without some things for a while. But finally avoided paying so much money for ridiculous interest rates on things we actually could have done without. I know people who use credit cards to pay as the month goes along, then when bill due, pay it off. They do it for convenience. Sometimes, they are needful, and paying them off as quickly as possible over a few months is great as well. But, there are some that I know that have multiple credit cards and all are maxed, or near so, and they will make the minimum payments on each. Never getting any paid off. Sometimes, getting new cards because they are literally cannot put more on the cards they have already. Now, compounding their debts and problems. They buy things they don’t need, maybe to try to impress themselves or others. But, here again, revolves around the love of money, the desire to have what they think it can buy. However, money doesn’t buy happiness, it buys items, and those that try to use money to buy happiness are unhappy people. They need God, not more stuff, not more debt. They put themselves in situations where they have to focus on paying credit card bills and lose focus on other things, the credit cards (and money they represent) become their idols.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
Any idol is an abomination to God. Money, houses, cars, clothes, jewelry, real estate, food, whatever the case may be is vile in His eyes if anything else is the focus of one’s attention and not God, we have made idols of that thing. But, one thing the pastor mentioned, is that it isn’t just the money that can be an idol. HOW it is used can be as well. I mentioned the man I worked for after High School. He would make some big donations to the church, but, when he did, he expected some sort of recognition. Maybe not in the form of a plaque. But he wanted people to know that he donated, and how much. His donation was not based on the needs of the church, they weren’t from a pure heart wanting to help, the donations were to get attention for himself. The attention was his idol. And, in this case, he loved the money, because of the attention he derived from it. So, definitely fits that the love of money is the root of all evil.
Just had a conversation with a friend last night about retirement and such. He asked if I was saving for it and all. I said, yes, but need more, because I hope to live a long time and don’t want to suffer when I am much older. He made the comment about money being the root of evil. Well, I corrected him, but just seemed like an appropriate post.
Whatever your financial status, how much money and material objects you have, you cannot buy happiness or salvation. That comes from God, through Christ.
Lord, I thank You for my salvation and praise Your Holy Name. I thank You for seeing me through times of financial hardship and blessing me some now. You meet my needs and I do not live in fear of loss of utilities which is a huge blessing. I pray You continue to help me and to remind me to help others, to give to church as I should, and to be mindful not to love the money, or what it might do, so that it does not interfere with my relationship with Christ. I ask You to help those having difficult times financially. To provide for their needs so they do not have worries for food and essentials. I pray that you speak to those that need to know to make YOU the focus, not the money, or what it does, but that we all focus on Christ. Help as all better serve You. I pray You work on my heart so that my desire to seek You grows. That I do all I can to find Christ, find His will and way in my life. That I not allow other things to interfere with serving Him.
Please, draw my family and loved ones to You.
Thanks for stopping by, as I said, came up in a conversation, made me think about the sermon, and had my experiences to add. I hope it helps someone. Don’t forget to seek opportunities to be blessings to others today.