When I appear before the Lord, I will have a list of questions to ask Him about various topics. One of them is His attitude about money. We need it to run our church, our homes, and families. Yet Scripture is often negative and warns us about money. There are many things in the spiritual life and the Church that add to to the tension of the money issues.
Throughout Scripture, we often hear about how we are co-creators with God. In the Genesis stories and then how we are co-creators with God in all the ways we build our lives around us. What a blessing and responsibility.
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
When I get stuck on what to do about money I remember that there are two things to keep in mind – that money is meant to be a tool. To help my understanding of how to navigate this I turn to the Ten Commandments, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Scripture. The word money is not in the Ten Commandments nor is it in the index of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The “M” word, however, is used in various forms throughout Sacred Scripture.
“For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” (Mark 16:26)
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
The combination of Old and New Testament citations about the use and abuse of money point to the real money issue — which is that money can so easily become an idol. The word idol is in both the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So the issue is not so much in money itself, but how we view it and if we make it an idol before the Almighty God.
I have been praying a lot about the idols in my life that I put in front of serving the one true God, and we should always pray for the grace to recognize and remove anything from our life that moves us away from Him. It’s those things we have made idols that need to be removed. Money can be a big idol. If not used to be co-creator of God’s Kingdom here on Earth, it is probably an idol we worship as hollow as the gold figures the Israelites worshipped. Each night I believe we have to reflect and identify what we worshipped that day. Was it mere idols or the one true King?
While it may still be a struggle to understand how to approach money, refocusing our use of money as a tool for the work of God’s Kingdom, and not as an idol, will be the key to at least resolving some of those tensions here on Earth.