Believe it or not, one of the primary reasons why many more people are not rich is because they live in a long-lasting self-defeating cycle about why money is bad. One of the most powerful things I’ve learned about money came from a book by Randy Gage, which is that most people carry self-defeating misnomers that make them think, “it is holy to be poor” and “evil to be rich.”
We work hard at convincing ourselves that we’re not going to get into heaven if we’re rich or that we will have to become a jerk to become rich.
If that is how you think not only are you flat-out wrong; you are dooming yourself to a life of being poor. If you think money is bad you are always going to setup your life so that you can be broke.
While it is true that money can cause massive problems 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. We can acquire money without it being the thing we place our Faith into.
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 any misappropriated idol (I suggest Pete Wilson’s book Empty Promises).
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 – and I- 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 more money we have the more money we can give!
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).
Over the last 6 posts we’ve talked about what you need to know about money in order to make more money. But none of it will work unless you first give yourself the permission to do it.
Now you have the knowledge and the permission to make lots and lots of money. Go do it. And then bless abundantly!