I really love money. When I see the balance in our account go up, I feel a substantial boost. It’s the same shot of dopamine I get whenever I deposit a check or get reimbursed. I look forward to the end of the month when I can take whatever is left in checking and move it into savings. It’s a simple reality: money makes me feel good.
But it’s more than just a feeling. It’s a renewed trust in where life is headed. I have fewer questions concerning the future and an ease replaces the regularly-pulsating ball of worry in my heart. I’m confident, excited; even celebratory. We’re going to be fine because there is a large, sturdy green umbrella set over our family.
Personally, I don’t love money because I get to spend it. I actually hate that part. I'll do most anything to keep from buying things, which means I’m chronically insecure during the months leading up to Christmas. When the balance drops, when the debit clears, when the paycheck is spent, I get anxious. Suddenly, my trusty umbrella looks fragile. Holes in the fabric begin to show, and my trust turns to despair. In that moment, I realize I don’t actually love money, I love what it gives me. I love security.
See, my real fear is not that I won’t be able to afford something or handle a big expense but that I’ll find myself in desperate need. I fear tomorrow, so I stockpile today. Perhaps, you say, my solution is easy—I should save as much as I can for as long as I can. But here’s the problem: my worry always outpaces my account balance.
Solomon put it like this in Ecclesiastes 5:10, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.” The bible explains my problem to me. I can’t be satisfied with money because my need is deeper than money. The lie my heart believes about money is that I’ll feel secure with more of it. And then verse 11 hits me: "When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?”
I believe more money means more security, but God says the only thing money increases is my hunger for more money. Money can satisfy my eyes and stomach, but never my soul. Even if I had more than I knew what to do with, my joy would be crushed by money’s inability to provide real, lasting, unfading security. When my affection and hope are set on what money might secure, what grows is the "me-ness" of my life—my insecurity, my desperation, my worry, my need. Money, in the end, fails to give me the security for which I am desperate. And it’s this tension that makes what Jesus purchased through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension so crucial to human freedom and security.
Peter, in the opening address of his letter to the exiled church, says this, "According to [God’s] great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope… an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for [us], who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time… [we] were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [our] forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ."
Jesus has bought new life and shares it with all who would come to trust Him. The “living hope” that He shares with us is a pure inheritance that endures forever and never loses it’s value. Jesus gave up all the riches of heaven to purchase eternal life through His obedience, and now He shares that wealth with us. He has purchased our eternal security.
How does this change me? My financial anxieties are soothed in light of the riches He holds by His power. I can throw away the flimsy green umbrella because I'm covered by the perfect righteousness and eternal wealth of the One who loved me through His own poverty (2 Corinthians 8:9). He is true wealth, and He shares himself with me. When I see money as security, every expense feels like a death. But now, because of Jesus, I’m released to see and use money as a way to breathe life into the lives of others. As I treasure Jesus all the more—the one who is the imperishable, undefiled, unfading, living hope—money loses its grip on me. And I find that I’m truly gripped by the glory and security of Christ.