Around New Year’s Day, many of us start looking at resolutions to help change our lives for the better. Most resolutions deal with our physical health, but when asked by researchers if they had to choose between reaching a financial goal over other personal goals, like weight loss, almost 84% of people polled said they would rather save $5,000 than lose five pounds. As Christians in the US, we have an interesting thought process when it comes to setting financial aspirations. We have heard “…Money is the root of all evil…” as a pull quote from a verse in 1 Timothy, misquoted over and over to make the correlation that, if you have money or want to have money, you have severe issues with your spiritual health. Money itself is inanimate, much like a hammer; they cannot be good or evil on their own; both are simply tools. But no one makes the correlation that “tools are the root of all evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” When you add the phrase “for the love of…,” the emphasis changes, and anything temporary could be inserted into the positions of money, i.e., food, football, social media, shopping, etc.
So, is it okay to be aspirational? Yes, as long as we are aspirational in our worship of God. If you follow Colossians 3:23-24, we work to please God as part of our worship to Him. In approaching our work this way, we should strive to be aspirational because God demands our best efforts and the fruits of our labor. The by-product of this work and effort will often lead to achieving success or solid social standing. But, as Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:9, wealth can lead to being a snare or a temptation when the desire switches from pleasing God to pride for ourselves.
Having money or not having money isn’t the issue, but it is the desire that causes us the problem. In our American culture, it is very easy for the temptation to have money to cause issues for us. Keeping our focus on God and looking at money as a tool, rather than an object of worship, helps protect us from this temptation. The Christian life is a complex balancing act of keeping our hearts in check, as the Lord pours out blessings on our lives. It isn’t our achievement that entitles us to the blessings but our love for the Father and His grace and mercy in our lives. But our love pushes us to want to please Him more in our efforts here on Earth.
In this New Year, if you set a resolution to be aspirational in your work and life, strive for greatness, as we do not work for the glory of men but our Lord.
Happy New Year!