More Than Eighteen Months
But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God.
My husband once attended a work-sponsored workshop about money. “Guess what the presenter told us?” my husband asked me at home that evening. “He said, when people receive a large sum of money—an inheritance, for example—they usually spend it in eighteen months.”
“Eighteen months?” I asked. “Wow. That’s crazy!”
All that money. Gone. Just like that.
Last year, my husband served as executor of his parents’ estate. His parents worked very hard all their lives. My father-in-law planned well and was a good steward of his earnings. He was able to create a comfortable life for his family and, because of his wise planning, my mother-in-law was well provided for after my father-in-law passed away.
As a couple, my mother- and father-in-law gave generously to their church, their community, and to various organizations around the world. They were highly respected and lived lives of deep faith and integrity.
When my husband inherited the responsibility for his parents’ resources after their death, he realized it was more than money for which he would be responsible. At the core, it was his parents’ legacy of hard work and compassion for others over which my husband was given stewardship. The example and legacy my husband’s parents left for us, and for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, is worth more than any amount of money. In fact, money pales in light of their rock-solid faith and their love and care for their family and their neighbor.
Jesus cautions against the distraction money can be. It glitters, and we can’t be devoted both to it and to God. In the end, we’ll find ourselves at the mercy of one over the other. Like my father-in-law, some people receive more monetary wealth than others. Jesus knew we’d be tempted to place value on monetary gain because of the material comfort it affords. Sometimes, however, it seems even people of faith hear Jesus’ warning as a directive to ascribe value to ourselves and to others based on income—putting up walls where walls were never meant to be.
When we value money more than we value each person’s position in Christ, we are tempted to stand on our side of the wall we built, pointing fingers at those on the other side of the wall, critiquing and measuring their worth by the size of their bank accounts and their spending habits. And, if we happen to suddenly gain access to wealth we didn’t have before, it’s easy to let it slip through our fingers, thinking material comfort and a spot on the other side of that wall will fill us up in all the places reserved for Jesus.
In Christ, we already have everything we need. It can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Jesus came to tear down the walls we build up, and we can trust him to give us exactly what we need, as well as the ability to be wise stewards of everything in our care. Because of our position in Christ, we can build a legacy that can’t be measured in dollars and cents—one that lasts not just for eighteen months, but a legacy that endures.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: If you suddenly found yourself in a different income bracket (either higher or lower), what is the first thing you would do? Have you found yourself drawing imaginary lines or building up invisible walls between yourself and people who earn more (or less) money than you? When you consider your stewardship of money, what type of legacy do you think you might be creating?
PRAYER: You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank you that my worth and value come from my standing in you, and not from the amount of money in my bank account. When I forget that and begin to draw lines and build walls between myself and others based on earnings or wealth or social status, please draw my attention back to you. Whatever amount of money I earn, let me be a good and wise steward of it, leaving a legacy that points to you. Amen.
One of the benefits of work is making money. Some people are blessed to receive a lot of money for the work they do. Money is often considered a taboo topic, but in this series, Making Money, we invite you to join us in lifting the veil and bringing the topic into the open. Ask questions, right along with us. Let's consider how to live in the world as people of faith who desire to do good work, and to be good stewards of our resources.
Featured image by Nick&Shelien Hadfield. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.