“If I had more money, I would be happier.”
Do you believe that?
Even though many of us know what the “spiritual” answer is, I think that intellectually we still believe that more money would make us happier.
It’s because many of us unconsciously or consciously believe this lie:
My significance and value is measured by the quality and the quantity of the things that I possess. In addition, my possessions provide security and power so I can be safe, personally satisfied, and rule myworld.
Especially in America, there is a mentality in our culture that teaches us that our value, worth, and significance is reflected in what we wear, what we drive, and how much money we make. Consequently, our happiness in life becomes dependent upon having the latest toys, the nicest stuff, and financial security.
Sadly, those very subtle, philosophical values and mindsets are at the core of destroying some of the most important relationships in our life.
Chapter 5 in the Book of James was written to a wealthy group of people who had this type of mindset and were abusing God’s children.
It begins with a scathing rebuke:“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.” (v. 1)
When we read this, we might immediately think that God is opposed to wealth. But, the truth is, He isn’t. Many of the greatest believers in the Bible were wealthy.
God is not against wealth, but He is opposed to the misuse and the abuse of wealth.
James goes on say:“You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you fail to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” (v. 3-4)
God is warning these rich, powerful people not to mistreat His children – many of whom were disowned by their families, cut out of wills and lost their businesses soon after they accepted Jesus as the Messiah.
God is angry because these rich people were choosing not to pay their workers (God’s children) for their labor. They were also hoarding all of their possessions even though many people were in need.
Could it be that even Christians in our day are guilty of hoarding?
On Saturday mornings, sometimes I’ll get up early and drive to the office because I get a lot more done when no one is there. Over the years, I’ve noticed more and more garage sales on the side of the road. I’ve thought to myself, “When I was a kid, nobody had garage sales. Now they’re everywhere!”
We live in a garage-sale mentality world. We think that a certain amount of money or stuff will help us feel secure.
But here’s what I’ve realized:Getting more and better things does not produce more security – or generosity.Instead, what we begin to understand is that the more we have, the more we have to lose.
Ultimately, God doesn’t want us to put our hopes in our wealth or possessions, as these things are so uncertain (1 Tim 6:17-18). Instead, He wants us to put our hopes and security in Him.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip