We Christians could memorize four maxims that have to do with money:
- Store up treasures in Heaven, not on earth;
- Money is only a means to reach an end, which is holiness;
- We are administrators, not owners of the money we possess;
- The one who has most is not the richest. The richest is the one who needs least.
From here, we are going to develop the conduct any Christian ought to maintain regarding money.
The other day when I was leaving a friend’s house, my phone fell out of my pocket. While it wasn’t the first time it fell on the floor, this time it was different. Just the sound it made when it hit the concrete made me turn immediately to look at it. When I picked it up, what I feared had become reality: the screen was cracked.
There was a solution for it, so the next day I took it to get repaired. In the afternoon it was fixed. I must confess, though, that it cost a lot of money and it robbed me of my peace. In an instant, a little slip cost just about as much as the phone I bought second-hand.
The story doesn’t end here. I started thinking about the whole thing, and the scene went through my head over and over again. I think more than one person will get what I’m saying.
The following night I opened The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal, and regained peace. “This is what people in the world worry about, thinking about treasures here below. Aren’t I a child of God?” I thought.
This is how I reached a few conclusions that I would like to share with the reader:
First—this is something that everybody knows, although it’s worth remembering—our peace must depend on God alone. We ought to lose peace over our holiness and the salvation of our brothers and sisters, not over the ups and downs of this passing world.
Beyond all this… what is money? Is it something that is impure and a matter of the children of darkness? Should we always try to spend the least amount of money possible?
Money is not impure, for nothing outside of man is impure. Therefore, making use of this world’s goods is also a matter concerning Christians. But how? Like the householder of the parable (cf. Luke 12:35-40) or the slaves of the master who went into a far country (cf. Luke 19:12): using them to obtain eternal treasures. Yes, we may use temporal goods in order to obtain the eternal ones, which are much more valuable.
But let’s go a step further: surely, God has given us the power to manage certain goods that we must use wisely. This includes our daily expenses, savings and investments that we ought to make.
In that respect, the fourth maxim is important: The one who has most is not the richest. The richest is the one who needs least. We see this often! Christians who taught the value and joy of living austerely remain speechless before so many superfluous expenses made by people who don’t have God in their life. How little do they have for the needs of the less fortunate.
Whoever has lived Lent well experiences freedom joyfully and the Holy Spirit’s power over the flesh through grace.
The considerations do not end here. Here is a lesson that those who are usually stingy will be forever thankful for: spending least it is not always the best. There are things that we should never save. We should not think twice about it when it comes to glorifying God, helping others and instructing ourselves in the Faith.
We should never deny a worker his salary, either, or think that being miserly is a virtue. Magnanimity goes hand in hand with longanimity. The person who never takes risks or invests his or her time and money will never be capable of doing heroic actions.
With age you realize that when what you buy isn’t any good for what it was bought for, or its use is short-time, it would have been good to spend more money once than to spend a little less three times. Spending more for something better that lasts longer or produces better results—instead of wasting $12 on a pair of shoes made under inhuman conditions and at the expense of the local economy (to throw them away and buy another pair just as bad the next year)—is not a luxury but prudence and charity.
We could try to have the following attitude in our mentality: we are only administrators of the money God has given us. Therefore, we ought to be thankful for all we receive each day and not lose our peace over things that are taken away from us.
In conclusion, let us be austere, prudent and charitable. Let us be holy.
For the greater glory of God.