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God, Money, and Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs*

Especially for Christians who hear sermons on what troubles money can cause if not handled right, giving ourselves permission to make money is often a huge step in actually acquiring it. There is nothing wrong with having money. Money is neutral. It is non-emotional. It is void of feeling. It has no meaning. It’s just paper. In fact when we get into trouble with money is when we make it mean things that it really doesn’t – good or bad.

Money is simply a blessing and a tool; like fuel in your car, office supplies on your desk, or any other resource you use to accomplish something. But just like any resource, it has properties.  And being a great manager of it as a resource means being educated on its properties and knowing what it can and can’t do. It means learning about it as a resource so that you can leverage it to its greatest advantage.

We can manage money without it managing us. We can have money without having it be the place we derive our self-worth. We can make money without making it what defines us.

There are lots of rich people who do it every day. There are plenty of rich people who are good people and there are plenty of rich people who are jerks. Just like there are plenty of poor people who are good people and there are plenty of poor people who are jerks. Having money doesn’t make you good or bad, right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful. Having money just means that you have money. Not having money just means that you don’t have money. And losing our emotional attachment to money frees us up to have power over it to use it and earn it more effectively.

That is one more reason why giving money is so powerful (there are several).  When you give money you demonstrate your power over it and your emotional detachment from it, which fortifies your attitude towards treating it like what it is: a tool. Like any other tool it’s a tool that can be used for good or a tool that can be used for evil. Its use will depend on the person controlling it. But having that appropriate attitude about money as a tool empowers you to actually acquire more of it. Once you have money it is up to you how you use it. So are you a person who uses tools for good and for serving a higher purpose? Or are you a person who uses tools to wreak havoc?

Money doesn’t make a person good or evil; the person makes themselves good or evil. Not having money won’t make you good just like having money won’t make you good. Besides, we all fall short in our own works of being good enough anyways.

The love of money IS the root of all evil. But the love of anything, other than what matters most, is the root of all evil – that’s what we call an idol. The root of all evil is endlessly pursuing something in hopes that it will fill a hole in our hearts that can’t be filled with any amount of wealth, power, friends, fame, success, or any other worldly item. In other words, the root of all evil is having a misappropriated idol.

Money is a particularly dangerous idol because as we get more of it we tend to be more likely to derive our self-worth and our feeling of control from it. It becomes more temptuous to rely only on ourselves when we have more money. So the trick is that as you get more money you have to discipline yourself to not let it take on more meaning to you; to not let it become your idol. Sometimes that is where we miss the mark.

But we can LOVE what matters most, derive our self-worth and meaning from that, and still physically possess this objective tool we call money. I’ve been poor and been happy and I’ve been rich and been happy, but all other things being equal, we might as well be rich! Because the properties of money allow us to do some good things with it when we have it.

You CAN’T serve two masters but that’s okay because you don’t have to serve money in order to have it. You can just have it. You also don’t have to love money to have it. You can just have it.

Some of the richest people I’ve met are classic examples of having money but not deriving their value, meaning, or self-worth from it.  Some of the more famous ones I’ve met that I personally model my life after (in this area) include: Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar, and Mark Hall (lead singer for Casting Crowns).

So, now you have permission to make money. Go do it. How? By picking up the phone and getting busy! Fill in your CSFs and light up the phones. Just discipline yourself to remember that no matter how much or how little you have of it; money doesn’t replace what matters most. Talk to you soon, my dear friend!

See you in the stairwell,

Rory Vaden
Take the Stairs – Success means doing things you don’t want to do

* This is an excerpt from a live coaching call with one of my clients recently.

  • I can’t wait to hear what you all think about this one. Hoping this will generate some interesting discussions.

  • Good stuff Rory! I agree with what you’ve said here. People always say “money is the root of all evil.” Not true, as you state, the Bible says the love of money is the real pitfall. And, you’re right, money isn’t the only thing we can get really attached (unhealthily) to. There’s ambition, yourself, a girlfriend, material possessions, your kids, recognition, Dancing with the Stars, sports teams, food, exercise, even church! As my pastor purports: our hearts are idol factories–we can make an idol out of virtually anything.

  • Oh no! I didn’t no Dancing with the Stars could be included in that list! Now I’m in trouble. 🙂

    Thanks Lee. It’s good to have your perspective and see you chime in. I’m curious to see how folks respond to this since it’s such a rare side of the message. And I like what your pastor says that anything can become an idol. So true.

  • Hi Rory, thanks for your valuable input.
    This is my forst time reading you, but you’re bookmarked now so I’ll be back!

    You know, sometimes you already know something to be true, but just see it out of your reach. I think we’ve all been there at some time; we know there are some changes we need to make mentally but can’t quite figure out how our unconscious thinking is sabotaging our desire to achieve.
    Well, after reading your post I have to say I got what I like to call a “lightbulb moment” and I now know how to re-shape my thinking.

    Thank You, new friend, I really appreciate your input, and I’ll be back for more!

  • Love your post. I totally agree. Many good tools can be abused when we become obsessive about them. Money as a resource has an amazing power, as does water. Respect for it’s ability to transform is important, but no reason to avoid it. It’s just reason for appropriate use.

    I wonder if what we sometimes fear, is the failings we might discover about ourselves. The temptations that could be revealed if we had more power of choice, because we have more money. If we had the discipline to achieve gaining more money, could we also develop more discipline to choose better in life? I know it is not a given, but it could be a choice. Also we should not dictate our lives by FEAR as it is not reality. Thanks for your post. Loved your interview with Shelley – she’s very lively!

  • Hey Allan,

    That makes me feel terrific. Glad you liked this one. I liked it too and it came from trying to make sense of it in my own mind for 10 years. I look forward to staying connected with you and getting to know you better.

    Lightbulb moments is a great concept!

    Your friend,

  • Tasha,

    I think you are right on. It’s all about fear. What would we really do with our lives if we really had more money than we could spend? We dream about the stuff we’d buy but once we had all that, then what? As you say, we’d definitely be forced to learn about ourselves.

    We really are scared (or at least I sometimes I am) of what would happen if we made powerful choices. It’s all about choice. In fact I often say the only thing I do is help people choose to do things they don’t want to do. Which, in essence, is making different choices.

    Money creates freedom of choice. Discipline does the same thing. With discipline we can accomplish just about anything and it’s sometimes intimidating to think about that and maybe easier to maintain the status quo.

    Glad you liked the interview with Shelley. Yes, she is awesome. Thanks for the compliment of looking me up.


  • Sahar

    well said..always your thoughts make my day..
    love you Rory

  • Ed

    Jesus only asked the Rich Young Ruler to give up his money because he knew where the man’s heart was. His love for money far exceeded his love for God. Had Jesus seen in the man this kind of love for any other earthly possession, he would have asked him to give that up instead. Matthew 6:28, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV) Thanks for Sharing Rory! God bless!

  • Ed

    Correction, Matthew 6:21. 🙂

  • Excellent post!

  • rory_vaden

    Thanks for this Ed! I really appreciate the reference! What a good reminder for all of us to just pursue God passionately and to let him be our #1 love.

  • rory_vaden

    Thanks Gwen! That makes me feel good that you like this one. This was an important post for me in my life when I wrote it. I had REALLY been struggling with reconciling my Faith and having money. Now money is just a tool to do God’s work and I have much more peace about acquiring it!

  • Asmaa

    A beautiful reminder; most of the major religions in the world do not condemn money it self, but the hoarding of it. Not giving it away, not helping others in their time of need. It is good to have money, keep some of it and then helping ourselves and others with most of what we have. Time is much more valuable than money, but people don’t realize that because we aren’t paid for every living hour of our lives.