I post often about money. I bet we’ve all seen a preacher or teacher hold a dollar bill and ask, “What is printed on the dollar bill?” People pick out a few significant details – GW, a pyramid, an eye. But the teacher is not satisfied and chides the audience for more, “You see this every day” he prods. Yet, disappointed our memory has been completely exhausted. With impeccable timing the teacher says, “How can we know so little about something we have been around every day?” Of course, we, the audience, have our ‘aha’ moment when we realize that though we use the bill every day there are numerous details we missed because of familiarity.
Where did you get your education about money?
You would be like most Christians if you answered:
- I’m not really sure
- Nowhere, I guess
- From my parents, but they didn’t really know about it themselves
If your answer is similar to one of the points above, then seriously question and consciously ask about your assumptions about money.
Photo by Steven Cummings
When it comes to personal finances we are always learning. Everything is either taught or simply caught. In other words, we do what we do with money either intentionally or unintentionally.
When I got married and started looking to buy a new car, do you know what I did? I went and got a car loan. Who sat me down and said that a car loan is how you buy a car? When did I ever take that class in school? No where. But, somehow growing up I ‘caught’ that you need a loan to buy a car, so that is just what I did.
Unfortunately, if we have ‘caught’ everything we know about money we likely have a view of money that is shaped by the ideas, teachings, theories, and ideas that exist in the world around us. Paul speaks about a similar ‘untransformed’ approach to decisions. In Eph. 2:1-3 he says the Ephesians utilized three criteria for making their unregenerated decisions. (1) You followed the ways of the world. The first way we make a decision is – what is everyone else doing? Of course, the obvious assumption is that if others are doing it, it must inevitably lead to something good and valuable. (2) You followed the ruler of the kingdom of the air. I’m guessing that is the one we call Satan. (3) Gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature. We do what we want when we want it.
If what typifies the pre-Christian life is doing what everyone else is doing, following the devil, and doing what you want when you want, I wonder if we should rethink our approach to finances.
Jesus preferred to teach about money rather than allowing people to be caught in the common misunderstandings of their time.
Have you ever realized that the Bible has a wealth of information, instructions, ideas, and teachings about money? I hope that in the future I can continue to post about issues that honor what God is teaching about money, but at times you need to be prepared for the fact that these teachings might contradict what you have ‘caught’ regarding money.