The Deceiving Half Truths Money Promises (But Rarely Keeps)

Print Friendly

Half truths are the most dangerous of all truths.

We’re smart enough to be able to spot a lie from a mile away.  It’s usually the half-truths that trip us up.

Money promises a lot of half truths.  The mistake we make is believing that the promises of money hold some type of ultimate truth.

Control

The more money we have, the more we’re able to control our lives.

If you’re wealthy, you can pay the best doctors to look into your sicknesses and ailments.  If you have money, you’re able to buy your own vehicle (and fix it).  This allows you more control over your schedule.  If you don’t like what the church is doing, I’m guessing your voice is more likely to be heard if you make significant contributions to the church.

In the end, wealth is deceitful because there is so much about our lives God controls regardless of how much money a person has.

Security

I think security is one of the top American idols.

Those with money can pick up and move to a new neighborhood.  Money allows you to buy window locks, security bars, and top quality locks.  Those with money can install cameras and sensors.

In the end, wealth is deceitful because if we find security by isolating ourselves, we’ll always find one more element of our personal security we cannot control.

Happiness

If I had a million dollars, I’d …

We often creatively think about all the things we’d do with a million dollars with a smile on our faces.  We could jet off to Disney World any time we wanted.  We could buy that new car and new computer we’ve been saving up for.  We’d be out of debt.

Alas, life seems like it would indeed be happier with more money.

In the end, wealth is deceitful because if you find your happiness in wealth, you’ll postpone being happy until you have just a little bit more.

Significance

We act differently around the multimillionaire.

We think those who are richer are smarter and more intelligent.  We take pictures, post on Facebook, and Tweet about experiences where we encountered someone rich and famous.  Those with more money tend to be viewed as more significant and more important.

In the end, wealth is deceitful because if you derive your significance from what you have, you’ll find a deep emptiness and pain.  God created us to be loved for who we are – not for what we earn and what we have.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:3).

Being poor is different than begin poor in spirit.  Still, those with much often find it more difficult to be poor in spirit.  To be poor in spirit is to recognize your absolute emptiness without God.

How do we guard ourselves against the half-truths of wealth?

We must constantly remind ourselves that what we have and who we are is from God.  We must never expect money to give us anything (control, security, happiness, and significance) that only God can give.  Nevertheless, we are not blind to the reality that money does indeed provide these things in a minimal and fleeting way.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Craig,

    Money or wealth is really inanimate. Money or wealth, of itself, is incapable of committing evil. It has no soul or self-propelling energy. It is much like a hammer or any other useful tool. It can be used to build or it can be used to destroy. If someone uses a hammer to destroy, does that require every righteous person to minimize the use of hammers, give all or most of their hammers away, or seek a hammerless lifestyle?

    Wealth does not deceive. People deceive themselves with their beliefs about money and wealth.

    But for the sake of this discussion and to make our point more clearly we will assume, for a moment, that wealth is animate and capable of self-propulsion. Under this assumption, we’ll take a look at the flip side of your assertion that money is deceitful and make a similar argument for a lack of money or wealth in each of your headings of Control, Security, Happiness, and Significance. We will quote your summation under each heading and then substitute a few key words portraying an opposite assertion, consequence, or condition.

    Control:

    “In the end, wealth is deceitful because there is so much about our lives God controls regardless of how much money a person has.”

    Rephrased: In the end, a lack of wealth is deceitful because there is so much about our lives God controls regardless of how little money a person has.

    Security:

    “In the end, wealth is deceitful because if we find security by isolating ourselves, we’ll always find one more element of our personal security we cannot control.”

    Rephrased: In the end, a lack of wealth is deceitful because if we need to shun security by not isolating ourselves, we’ll always find one more element of our personal insecurity we cannot control.

    Happiness:

    “In the end, wealth is deceitful because if you find your happiness in wealth, you’ll postpone being happy until you have just a little bit more.”

    Rephrased: In the end, wealth is deceitful because if you find your happiness in a lack of wealth, you’ll postpone being happy until you have just a little bit less.

    Significance:

    “In the end, wealth is deceitful because if you derive your significance from what you have, you’ll find a deep emptiness and pain. God created us to be loved for who we are – not for what we earn and what we have.”

    Rephrased: In the end, a lack of wealth is deceitful because if you derive your significance from what you don’t have, you’ll find a deep emptiness and pain. God created us to be loved for who we are – not for what we don’t earn and what we don’t have.
    —–

    Our Conclusion:

    Wealth, or a lack of wealth, promises nothing.

    The only possible deception associated with wealth, or a lack of wealth, is related to our beliefs about those topics. The goal in life is to sort through our own beliefs (many of which we inherit) and discard the ones that don’t stand up to scrutiny. Once all of the lies and half-truths are discarded from our lives (most likely an impossible task), our lives become a beacon of truth for others to follow to the degree we are successful in this task.

    Attacking money, wealth, guns, cars, hammers, hotels, or airplanes simply on the basis that they can be used for evil purposes is faulty logic. If someone thumps another person over the head with a bible, do we bemoan the bible and make it something inherently evil, or do we address its misuse?

    In personifying and attacking inanimate objects, we end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. Attacking inanimate objects is certainly much easier than dealing with our flawed beliefs, but it does nothing to solve a particular problem and only serves as a distraction in dealing with the real culprit…our beliefs.

    • says

      Steve and Debora,
      I’d be interested in hearing your perspective on why Jesus talks about the dangers of this ‘inanimate’ object more than others.
      Why didn’t he talk about things like hammers and the need to be on our guard against them?
      I think there is significance to the frequency with which the NT talks about money and wealth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *