I know, that wasn’t the start you anticipated. But I was listening to a well-known financial expert the other day and was saddened. While the financial advice was good, the spiritual advice was terrible. Of course, they were not intending to give spiritual advice, but they were.
Here’s how—financial health was being presented as if it was the ultimate hope for security, fulfillment, and purpose. Financial health was taking a role only God can fulfill. Exodus 20:3—”Do not have other gods besides me,” was being broken.
This got me thinking about financial health and the dangers attached to it. It’s something we don’t often discuss. We talk about the dangers of debt, not saving, and spending beyond our means. But the dangers of financial health? We don’t talk about it.
Here’s how financial health can be dangerous:
1. The pursuit or maintaining of financial health can become a god. I hate what debt does to people. I want you and everyone else to get out of it. But for some, being debt-free or financially healthy has become their hope. By doing so, they are simply replacing one idol (possessions) for another. But that god won’t deliver on its supposed promises. Relying on wealth to provide security will ultimately let you down. You cannot make money do something God never intended it to do.
2. Financial health can subtly make you self-reliant, not God-reliant. This is a danger to me and everyone else who is financially sound. You can find yourself feeling like you have everything under control—that you have life figured out. And unintentionally, the God upon which you relied to get to this spot is placed on the sideline.
3. You feel the freedom to chase after possessions again. For many, it was the pursuit of possessions that caused their financial turmoil. And while their financial disarray created a limit on their ability to continue that pursuit, they never really dealt with the heart issue behind it. Now that they are in a financially healthy spot, they feel the freedom to once again chase after possessions. Sure, they may buy without debt, but their heart is once again lured by stuff rather than God.
So, is financial health a good thing? Yes, if financial health remains a means to an eternally impactful end. Money is not a goal. It’s a tool for God’s glory.
This article was originally published by Art Rainer on his More Than Money blog. Art Rainer is a Vice President at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He writes widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity. You can read and hear more from Art at his website here!