Tim Ferris, Silicon Valley entrepreneur says, “If only I had more money is the easiest way to postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment – now and not later.”
According to Tim, it takes two steps to start a life of enjoyment, a life of fulfillment and Joy in the Biblical sense of the soul’s deep satisfaction. Firstly, to intensely examine ourselves and secondly, to make the right decisions. Are you ready to take these steps to true freedom right now?
How many of us have fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole of “if only I had got that promotion”; “if only I had more money”; “if only I had a better job”; if only my partner wasn’t such a big spender … “
It is dark down that hole and leads to a dream world of negative thinking. It’s easy to go straight to the negative, especially what’s going on in today’s world. Focusing solely on money to solve our problems will lead only us down a black hole with little hope of joy.
‘If only’ also describes regrets and wishful thinking, both based on dreams, not reality.
Our ‘if only’ regrets will haunt us and keep us prisoners, even possibly make us ill and rob us from our opportunities to live life to the full our full and experience joy. We all have regrets like:
• If only I had more money
• If only I saved my money instead of spending it all
• If only I had made better decisions
• If only I took that other job
• If only I had been honest instead of cheating on my expenses
• If only I had finished that training course
Escaping out of the hole
To escape out of the black hole of regrets, I am reminded of the story of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. Jesus showed up four days too late and Mary and Martha complained, “Lord, if only you had been here.” Jesus showed us how to escape from the ‘if only’ trap. First of all he said, “where have you laid him.” What is dead in your life? What’s wrong? What’s hidden in your soul? We have to start by telling Jesus the reality of our situation.
Then Jesus commanded them to “take away the stone.” Allow Jesus to reach into the hole and bring you out, restoring you His life of fulness.
We also find ourselves dreaming about what might be in bouts of wishful thinking.
• If only I had more money, I’d be happier
• If only could be more disciplined
• If only I could master my money
• If only I could save more …
• If only I could get that job or promotion, I’d be happier
• If only I had more clients
• If only I had xxx. What’s your ‘x’?
Wishful thinking is one thing, reality is something else. It is a product of trying to resolve conflicts between belief and desire. As long as it remains a dream, it is an illusion, but with belief and concrete action it can become a positive force for change.
You do not need more money!
Money will never solve financial problems. It will relieve some symptoms for a short period of time to meet our most basic of needs. Of course, having money is more fun than not having any! However, once basic needs are met, research has when that there is little to no relationship between more money and joy or fulfillment. The reason for this is that we quickly adapt to the things we have, rapidly becoming accustomed to them, and becoming restless for more. The new car you buy with your big raise may bring you happiness for a bit, but you'll soon adjust to having the car and it will no longer affect your sense of fulfillment. Moreover, you start comparing what you have with what others have, becoming jealous and losing joy.
The majority of existing research suggests that, when it comes to fulfillment and joy, money brings diminishing returns.
It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.
The Beatles sang, “The best things in life are free / But you can keep them for the birds and bees / Now give me money /(That's what I want …)
It is not strictly true that the best things in life are free, we live in a world in which money is needed. However, the best things in life cannot be purchased with money.
You can buy medicine but not health; a bed but not rest; a house but not a home; sex but not love; a holiday but not re-creation; insurance but not security; food but not vitality; information but not wisdom; thrills but not joy.
You need wealth!
It has been said that true wealth is what’s left when money has gone!
For meaningful change we need something more valuable than money – true wealth!
Once we have rolled away the stone of our wrong thinking, we can experience the promise of our Father to create wealth.
“You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)
So, how can we use the promised power to create wealth? We need to stop speaking ‘if only’ and start practicing ‘what if?’ and then start to realize that.
Developing a relationship with Jesus in prayer and Bible study will create spiritual wealth.
What if I start to build spiritual wealth to access God’s power and promises?
“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear.” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
The first fruit of spiritual wealth is relational wealth, as we learn to love and relate to others.
What if I build relational wealth to develop meaningful relationships with people whom I can serve and others who could help me?
The next fruit of spiritual wealth is productive wealth, as the Lord gives us gifts and talents to employ on serving others.
What if I can become productive, using my skills, and talents, embrace God’s creativity, generate ideas, and develop the ability to get things done?
Utilizing spiritual, relational and productive wealth will lead to a healthy life (physical wealth) and then to meet all our basic needs as the Lord provides the financial wealth we need.
The great characteristics of these 5 aspects of true wealth is that they are all inter-related and can be used to strengthen one another. More on this in a later blog.
Finally, no amount of money will ever set you free. Only Jesus can set you free.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
The Lord can bring you true wealth – even with little money. He can bring healing, help you to rest, bring someone to love and someone to love you, a home, security, vitality, wisdom, and joy – even money to live and enjoy life!
Join a Compass gathering and learn what Jesus had to say about finances – God’s way!
Learn more about what Bible teaches about money - join the "Navigating finances God's way" small group study: https://financialdiscipleship.thinkific.com/courses/nfgw
But what do you think about the topic? Post your comment below and join us on January 18, 2023 at 19:30 CET at Compass Zoom cafe to discuss for free: https://compass1.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUocuygpzIrG9N3msWNFH5YbdsI9dpETNUX