Accumulating Wealth

4 Mar

“There is no value in being the richest man in the cemetery.”  Peter Drucker

So many people pursue wealth.  From the time they were young it seems, the “almighty dollar” had become a passion for them.  They do anything that they can to make money and, when they do, they continuously pursue more.  They never seem to be happy with what they have because they know so many others who have more.  It can be a lonely and frustrating pursuit, the pursuit of money.

In my own life, I have learned that money plays many roles.  One, it is a necessary evil.  I have a firm respect for money and do the best that I can do to be a good steward of the money that is entrusted to me.  Being at one of our largest parishes and one with a school, we have an annual multimillion budget.  With the help of a sound financial team, that money is watched over carefully and just as carefully and responsibly spent.  It is a huge responsibility but one that has satisfaction in it as I see the parish and its programs continue to provide for our parishioners.  We could not do what we do without money.

Personally, money provides a bit of enjoyment (going away on vacations or purchasing things) and security (putting away for retirement).  Money doesn’t have much of a hold on me, though.  I may be very frugal with the parish funds because that is my responsibility as pastor however in my personal life, money comes and goes.  I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but I have no problem letting money out for certain things.  If a friend needs a hand, I’m willing to help.  If a good cause comes about, I’m going to donate.  I see money as something that has been given to me not just for myself but for others as well.

And here’s the weird thing: the more I give to others, the more I seem to receive.  It’s not been uncommon for someone to give me money right after I have helped another person or cause.  They say that all the time when they talk about stewardship and I can verify it personally.  It does happen.  When we are willing to let go in order to help another, God seems to give us more so that we can help still more people.

Money can buy great happiness.  But the happiness is not in the “stuff” that is purchased.  The happiness is in the lives of other people we can touch by using what we have.  We don’t have to become paupers in the process.  However, all of us have something extra that we may not really need, so why horde?

What will we do with all of our unused money at the time of our death?  It won’t buy us access into heaven.  Use it here on earth because, if we don’t, we might become people who end up cherishing money more than we cherish God.  That will lead us down a path we shouldn’t take.  You know what they say, “The one who dies with the most toys is still dead.”  And, yes, Drucker, “There is no value in being the richest man in the cemetery.”

FAITH ACTION:  Let go of anything that is keeping you from drawing closer to God.