Money is the subject of songs, the theme of books and movies, the lifeblood of a capitalistic society, and one of humanity’s greatest temptations. Money is won and lost, earned and stolen, spent and saved, abused, pursued, wasted, hoarded, invested, donated, shared, gambled and worshiped. I’ll bet (pun intended) as many books have been written about money as about happiness, peace and joy combined.
Money is also one of the most misunderstood concepts. “Let me ‘splain it, Lucy.” Some say they aren’t “money motivated.” I believe this is an inaccurate statement possibly offered as a thinly veiled excuse for why they are poor. If true, why do they accept a paycheck from their employer?
Maybe it would be better to say, “I am content earning enough to support my modest lifestyle.” While this could be more truthful, it reflects different problems. This person could have low self esteem and not feel capable of earning more.
“Almost without exception, you can measure a person’s contribution to society in terms of dollars. The more he contributes, the more he earns.” — Zig Ziglar
There is significance in the wording of the second sentence.
The second possibility is that it reflects a “do no harm” approach to life, which I call selfish contentment. People that live their lives as if their only responsibility is to be happy and not be a burden on others are probably not living up to their potential and their purpose.
We need to see money as a tool for good. If our priorities are in the proper context and perspective, money is a great servant. It’s only when we become a servant to the money (and its close cousin “possessions”) do we have a serious problem. Money offers opportunities to help other people. The more money we command, the greater the impact we can have for good. Andrew Carnegie didn’t build libraries and schools by earning the minimum wage.
Living Within Our Means
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” -– Charles Dickens, from “David Copperfield”
“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.” -– Errol Flynn
“The mint makes it first, it is up to you to make it last.” -– Evan Esar
Money and Business
“Profits are better than wages.” -– Jim Rohn
“… if you have the ability to start your own business and you don’t do it, you are a fool. I’ll repeat that. If you have the ability to start your own business and you don’t do it, you’re a fool.” -– Brian Tracy
Dubious Uses of Money
“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” -– Groucho Marx
“Money can’t buy friends, but it can get you a better class of enemy.” -– Spike Milligan
The Money Trap
“Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil.” -– Henry Fielding
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” — Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10
Money vs. Poverty
“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.” -– Kin Hubbard
“Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.” -– Plato
“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” -– Woody Allen
“Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.” -– Ken Hakuta
“Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” -– Jim Rohn, quoting Zig Ziglar
“I choose the likely man in preference to the rich man; I want a man without money rather than money without a man.” -– Themistocles, from “Plutarch, Lives“
Interestingly, the Bible has much to say about money. The Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30) and the story of the widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44) are two familiar examples. Here are a few more passages on money:
“When God is angry, money won’t help you. Obeying God is the only way to be saved from death.” — Bible, Proverbs 11:4
“Money wrongly gotten will disappear bit by bit; money earned little by little will grow and grow.” — Bible, Proverbs 13:11
“The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders.” — Bible, Proverbs 22:7
“If you don’t have the money, you might lose your bed.” — Bible, Proverbs 22:27
“If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn’t make sense either.” — Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:10
“You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” — Bible, Matthew 6:24
© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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