The Value of Stuff
Live an Unexplainable Life with Your Money
By Guest Blogger Erica Wiggenhorn
What is the importance of stuff in our lives? A few months ago I had to clean out my mother’s house. While countless items were donated to a women’s shelter, I decided to keep less than a trunk load full of things.
How many days and dollars had been spent accumulating all of the stuff that was hauled away?
What Really Matters?
As I drove home, I evaluated the importance of stuff in my life and concluded that things are often a barrier in my relationships. It takes time to manage them, clean them, and organize them—and in the end, they are meaningless.
The only thing I really wanted from that home was my mother, but she was already gone, stolen away by dementia.
I realized in that moment, how much more intentional I needed to be in teaching my children about managing finances.
Consumed with Money
Truthfully, the pursuit and management of our finances probably takes up more of our time than just about anything else.
We work forty to eighty hours per week at our jobs. We constantly plan and check our budget and bills. We clip coupons and scour the Internet for sales while being bombarded about the latest, greatest thing we must buy.
With money such a consuming factor, it is easy to see how it can become a dominating priority. What is right before our eyes is generally what commands our attention.
Finding the Proper Balance
So how do we maintain a proper balance and keep money from mastering us?
And how can we teach our children to view our material blessings as tools by which we should bless others?
Look for one person per day/week to intentionally bless. This takes our eyes off of ourselves and focuses us on the needs of others.
“It is better to give one shekel a thousand times,” the rabbis used to say, “than a thousand shekels all at once, because every time you give, you become a kinder person.”
This allows us to view our money as a tool of blessing rather than a means to make our own lives better.
Pray about Finances
Make your finances a regular matter of prayer. How much time do we actually spend praying about money compared to the time earning, managing, and saving money?
I confess that I don’t often consult God about my money. Sure, if it’s a big purchase like a new home, I’m on my knees; but I generally don’t pray about whether or not I should buy new shoes or go out to lunch.
I just live my life and invite God into my bank account when a costly mistake might make my life uncomfortable.
Prayer reminds me that it’s not my money in the first place; it’s God’s money on loan to me—and I need wisdom in managing it.
Motivation for Giving
Examine your motivation behind your giving.
In the Bible, Ananias gave because he was building an image among the apostles. Where do you give and why did you decide to do so?
Whether or not we want to admit it, it feels good to be recognized for our generosity.
However, Jesus tells us the true blessing comes when giving is done in secret—where no one sees but your Heavenly Father.
He even goes so far as to emphasize that we shouldn’t even spend too much time thinking about it. Give so the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
I don’t want a house full of stuff anymore. I want a life that blesses others. I may not have twenty different colored pairs of shoes, but my life will be vibrant.
And when I get to heaven, I want The Rabbi to say, “Indeed, my child, you were the kindest of them all!”
© Erica Wiggenhorn
What about you?
Has your view of money changed in light of the recent COVID-19 lockdown and other events happening in our culture? Please share your insights below.