Money is Spiritual

24 Feb 2015

Have you ever considered that money is a deeply spiritual issue?

If you think like most people, you probably haven’t, as spirituality and “the rest of life” have been separated in our collective mind for quite some time.

But consider these aspects:

Debt: Most of our ancestors considered debt to be sin, and that having loans makes you a slave to the lender.

Giving: Generosity is a virtue celebrated in many cultures and religions; there seems to be a deep-down understanding that we need to share.

Frugality: This is a spiritual discipline practiced by seekers for centuries. It is abstaining from things that satisfy our desire for status, glamour or luxury. As theologian, Dallas Willard, wrote, “The spiritually wise person has always known that frivolous consumption corrupts the soul away from trust in, worship of, and service to God and injures our neighbors as well.”*

Work: The so-called Protestant work ethic has its roots in society and the bible. It comes from a pragmatic understanding that it takes the contributions of all in order for individuals and communities to survive and thrive. There is a saying: work not, eat not.

Investing: Jesus told the story of a generous master who gave away money for three people to invest. He got really upset with the one who buried it in the ground and did nothing.**

There is a link between poverty (individual and corporate) and spirituality. When principles are violated consequences ensue.

You may recall two Get Control Of Your Life podcasts with Carrie Riffee. She and her three kids lived under a bridge for a year. She had just escaped an abusive marriage (he violated principles of properly loving his wife), she succumbed to a co-dependent, unhealthy relationship (violation), and society failed her by imposing restrictions that gave her no options but to be homeless (yet another violation). I contend all these are spiritual issues.

I think it’s important to differentiate between poverty and stuff. I contend that POVERTY IS NOT A LACK OF STUFF!

Basically in Western society, we measure poverty and riches by how much stuff people have. UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) gathers statistics on the number of newspapers, radios and television sets per capita by country and region as a measure of development throughout the world.

We have gross domestic product, and wage statistics. Yada yada. It’s all about stuff.

I like the way Franciscan, Richard Rohr, discussed the topic:

“The world tends to define poverty and riches simply in terms of economics. But poverty has many faces–weakness, dependence, or humiliation. Essentially, poverty is a lack of means to accomplish what one desires, be it lack of money, relationships, influence, power, intellectual ability, physical strength, freedom, or dignity.***

Here’s the deal. You may have a lot of stuff and be poor because you don’t know how to be generous, have healthy relationships or just be decent.

You may have nothing and not be poor, because you have great life skills or have chosen to live on less.

Or you may lack the essential life skills to not only live, but also thrive. Perhaps you need to get off your ass and figure out how to fix it. Do you need to work more, spend less, give more?

Money is a deeply spiritual issue.

If you have material abundance, have you ever considered that you may actually be poor?

If you have money problems, consider areas you may need to grow and change. The problem is more likely in your head and heart than your wallet.


*Willard, Dallas. (1988). The spirit of the disciplines: Understanding how God changes lives. Harper Collins. p. 169.

**The story is told in Matthew 25:14-30

***Richard Rohr’s email devotional, February 22, 2015. You can read the entire article here:–Roots-of-Liberation.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=5YLAMuacc5w



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