Money is one of those topics that tend to stir up a million questions. Am I supposed to give to God from my gross income or my net income? What about gifts? If someone gives me $100 for my birthday, do I give 10% of that to God or is it only money I’ve received from work? What about our tax return? Do you tithe on that? What if I’m in the jungle and I find a red ruby in a cave and flee from natives that are shooting at me with frog poison tipped blow darts, do I have to chisel out 10% of that ruby for the offering plate if I escape with my life?
Why do we get flooded with questions like that when we think about money? I’m not sure, but I think it’s because the old cliché, “money talks” is true. Or rather, “money lies” and we listen to the things it says. When we talk about it, we’re rarely talking about a piece of paper and usually talking about other things. When we get close to it, when we think about tithing or giving or financial strain, is starts to chatter like a parakeet you bought without consulting your wife first because you had one as a kid that used to land on your finger and do funny things but this one hates life and itself and you and just will not stop squawking bird obscenities a million times a day. Hypothetically speaking of course.
So instead of really hearing what’s going on, what’s really being said, we listen to money. Here’s a snapshot of some conversations my wife and I have had about money in the past:
My wife says:
“I think we need to spend some time going over our budget again. We might need to adjust a few things.”
“You are failing as a provider and a father and a husband. In fact, I’m pretty sure if you weren’t so short we’d be able to reach more money in the money trees.“
“I don’t like looking at the budget. I find it really confusing.”
My wife hears:
“I’m abandoning you on this issue. You’re the fun police. My job is to spend the money and enjoy myself as if there’s no limit. Your job is to control all the money and then to tell me how much we can’t spend and be the financial killjoy in our house.”
Did we say those things? Not really, but money loves filling in the blanks and it hates to stay quiet. It’s constantly whispering things like:
“I’m the best way to know your real value.“
“If you had enough of me, you’d never worry again.“
“If you were a better Christian, it’d never be hard to give me away.“
“In order to build a better ‘later,’ you have to sacrifice family time ‘now,’ but it will all work out.”
“Once you earn enough, you’ll be able to really start giving.”
Chatter, chatter, chatter. Squawk, squawk, squawk.
The simple solution, which doesn’t feel that easy sometimes, is to ask, “Who am I listening to right now? Money or God?” Because although I don’t think money is inherently a bad thing, it’s a horrible God.
So today’s question is this:
What ridiculous things does your money try to tell you?