CHRISTIAN COMMENT: The love of money

I said a few weeks ago when I was writing this column that I’d try to keep off the subject of money.

You know what? That’s impossible.

All the big news stories seem fixated by the subject.

Which either means that everyone is driven by money considerations or the media think that we are.

Both of which, by and large, are true.

This latest thing about the banks – lying over how big or small their borrowing costs were so that they could cream more off their customers.

A breach of trust? Certainly.

Only to be expected? Just as certain.

What is it about money that causes such desperation to have more? What exactly is money?

It’s an expression of power.

As such, we use it as a counter to fear.

The more we feel threatened, the more we want to diminish the threat and to feel secure. Money provides the delusion of such security.

Why ‘delusion’?

Because money is so unreliable.

It comes and goes in ways that often seem beyond our control.

We get a sudden windfall.

Something seems to cost less than we expected.

But then something else we thought we could afford doubles in price. We get pay-rises. We get pay-cuts.

The price of fuel rockets and then falls. And so on.

And it’s not just having money that appears to make us stronger.

It’s being seen to have it. Which is why advertisers have such a good time encouraging us to become objects of others’ envy.

That, in turn, becomes our measure of ‘having enough’.

Do I have what others have? Do I, sometimes, have something others do not have? It’s how we measure up.

It’s one of the main ways we feel good about how we’re doing in this life. Unfortunately, using that standard, we’re never going to have enough.

Money, in brief, is the biggest thing we have to base our lives on.

Except God, of course.

And He says that we can’t love money in the way that we do and, at the same time, love Him.

We have to choose to rely on Him or on money. Not choose whether we have money.

Just whether we’re going to rely on it.

In theory, there’s absolutely no reason why bankers shouldn’t be followers of Jesus. Or anyone else whose business is money. Honest.

The thing is that money really isn’t reliable. It comes and it goes.

It was when I’d realised this – when I was out of a job for eighteen months or so – that I discovered the other truth. No, money truly isn’t reliable.

But God is.

Nigel O’Dwyer