Using a treadmill may be good exercise, but do you ever feel that your whole life is a treadmill? There is nothing so well calculated to make your whole life a treadmill as to make your chief goal the pursuit of money and the things money can buy. Trying to accumulate money can drain all the hours of your time. It can cost you your family, your friends, your health, your integrity, and your spiritual life. Further, there is no such thing as enough money or stuff, and there is always some new thing that everyone has to have. Even if we manage to amass a degree of wealth, we then have find ways to invest and manage it so we do not simply run through it. Then in the final analysis, we die and leave that accumulated wealth for others to fight over. And part of the problem is, we know this, yet we continue anyway. We are like cigarette smokers who know that what they are doing carries heavy health risks, yet they will not quit. Therefore, while the Christian church, and even the secular world, have long sounded the warning of too much concentration on the pursuit of money, the problem persists. Now I am not suggesting we all become Amish and go back to older, simpler times. But how do we deal with the issue on a reasonable basis?
Now I do not want to give the impression I have this subject all figured out. My wife would be able to tell you how I have Lincoln thumbs from pinching pennies too hard. But here are a few hard-won suggestions for dealing with this problem. We need to start by trusting God in the area of our finances (Matthew 6:25-34; Psalms 127:1,2; Proverbs 3:5,6). This is easy to say and hard to do, especially when the bank account dips a little low or an unexpected expense comes up. Even if things seem to be going well, we can always worry about future problems and expenses. But we need to be willing to trust those to God (Philippians 4:6,7; 1 Peter 5:7; Ephesians 6:18). Also, we need to deal with pride, the pride that is worried and envious if we are not doing as well as someone else (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23; 1 John 2:15-17). Sometimes it may better to accept a lower level of material prosperity to have time for the things that are important. But finally, we need to remember that what money or possessions we acquire are only temporary (2 Peter 3:10-13; 1 Timothy 6:7,8; Luke 12:16-21). Also, it is good discipline to practice giving some of it away, for I have found that when I do, it ends up having less of a hold on me (Proverbs 21:26; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Ephesians 4:28). This is of course much easier to say than it is to do. Now if you will forgive me, I have some pennies to pinch before they get away.