Earlier this week on May 4th we celebrated the annual Star Wars Day. Those who know me would probably agree I might just be a little bit of a geek. Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, you name it. I pretty much have enjoyed them all. While “the Force” as a religious philosophy may be rather lacking, there are some parallels I think we can draw to money management.
The Force is neutral
In the Star Wars universe, the Force is basically a neutral entity. It can be used for good or it can be used for evil. It is the same Force, it all really depends on the intentions of the one who wields it.
This is very much true of money. One of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10. People say, “you know, money is the root of all evil”. But that is not what the verse says. It says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Money in itself is neutral. Money can be used for good. It can be used to provide for your family. It can be used to build an orphanage to care for children. It can be used to print Bibles to spread God’s word. It can be used to build hospitals to care for the sick. I could go on and on.
But that same money can be used for evil as well. Those same dollars could be used to buy drugs. They could be used to hire a hit man to murder someone. They could be used to finance a terror plot. Or more to the point they could be held onto greedily to build up our own wealth at the expense of good we could be doing.
The allure of the dark side
In the Star Wars movies, one of the battles that those who can control the Force must constantly fight is the temptation to go over to the dark side. To use the Force for selfish motives instead of the greater good.
This is so true of money as well. I think this is why the Bible spends much time talking about money. There is a great temptation when money comes our way.
- We are tempted to trust in our wealth for our provision. But wealth is temporary. It can be gone in an instant. God is our sure provider. But when we have money we can easily forget that.
- We can easily forget as well what the true source of our wealth is. If you have a good job, how did you get that job? It is God who gave you those abilities. But when wealth comes our way we start to believe it was our own intelligence or skills and lose sight of the fact those are blessings from our Creator.
- We are tempted to hold on to it. Greed is an ever present danger when we have money and frankly this is true whether we have little or much. It can have an even greater hold on those who have little. How do we respond when we see a need? Do you rush to give generously? Or do you struggle with the temptation to hold on to what you have and hope someone else will step up and meet the need?
I don’t find it surprising that that the full scripture in 1 Timothy 6:10 says:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (emphasis added)
Money is not evil, but the allure of the dark side of money is always a danger we must guard our hearts against.
A Jedi must be trained in the ways of the force
One of the keys in the Star Wars universe is that a young potential Jedi must be trained in the ways of the Force. Without that training, they will not have the skills to resist the temptation of the dark side. Experienced Jedi will take a padawan, a young untrained individual who has shown abilities to use the Force. They will then spend several years training that padawan in the proper use of the Force, before that young padawan can eventual become a Jedi themselves.
Most of us are not naturally born with skills at handling money. They must be learned. The good news is that if we will take the time there are so many good sources available to us.
The Bible is full of instructions regarding how to handle money and those principles really work. Howard Dayton of Compass One Ministries did an intensive study many years ago after becoming a Christian and found 2,350 scriptures that relate to money. Jesus spoke more about money than heaven and hell combined. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the book of Proverbs. It is full of wisdom and a large part of that is related to money.
Read a book. Check out my bookshelf for suggestions. Take a class. Financial Peace University is a great place to learn the basics of handling money. Check out podcasts. There are a lot of great, free podcasts out there that focus on money. Even if you don’t have an iPod or similar device, as long as you have an internet connection there are ways to listen.
Lastly, I would say just like the young padawan needs an experienced Jedi to guide him, find a mentor. Look for someone older than you who has been through the things you are facing and has come out well on the other side. Ask them for advice. Ask if they would consider meeting with you regularly to answer your questions. This is true in all areas of life, not just finances. Seek out a Godly mentor that can help to build you up.
May the Force be with you!
Hopefully you have tolerated my little detour in to geekdom. Just as the Force provides great opportunity for those in the Star Wars universe to do great good, money can be a great blessing or a terrible curse for us today. I pray that those of you reading here will learn to use the money that you have in a way that blesses those you come in contact with and that brings honor to our Lord.