James 5:5-6 – You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
Our view on money, oftentimes, can be attributed to the way we grow up, either for good or for bad. If we had a bad example of stewardship growing up, sometimes we either feel doomed to repeat the cycle or are extra motivated to do better for our own families.
As I see it, there are eight ways you can approach money, wealth, and investments and being honest about where you are (and your spouse, if you’re married), can help you work towards having a more generous heart of stewardship.
- The Hoarder
For the hoarder, money gives you safety. I’ve read a few stories over the years where somebody dies in what seems like utter poverty – living in a trailer, eating cat food, taking the bus – but they’re in fact very wealthy, because they simply hoarded all their money.
- The Spender
This is the epitome of the phrase that has become popular in our culture – “Treat yourself”. If you’ve had a hard day, you reward yourself with money by taking yourself out to eat, buying yourself a new wardrobe, or booking a vacation. None of these things are sinful by themselves but if it means spending above your means and becomes a regular habit, debt follows, and it becomes a problem.
- The Avoider
For the avoider, money stresses you out, you don’t understand math, and it just feels easier to not talk about it. These are the parents that, when the bills come, they just put them in a drawer and don’t really pay attention to them until there’s a lot of red writing on the front of the envelope. These are the people that, for them, reconciling their books means going to the ATM and just pulling out whatever unknown amount of money is in the bank.
- The Hater
This person hates money, hates talking about money, and thinks money itself is evil. For this person, they rewrite 1 Timothy 6:10 and think money itself is evil rather than what the verse truly says: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils…” This person has probably either been broke for so long that they just don’t want to talk about money or have seen money used and abused.
- The Manipulator
These people are like puppeteers for a marionette, and they give to get something in return so they can control you. In this case, the money always comes with strings. This person holds over others’ heads the fact that they gave them money to get whatever it is they want. It’s not grace-based lending. Unfortunately, this is how many parents destroy their relationship with their adult kids; it’s not necessarily harmful for parents to give advice along with money but it’s controlling, manipulative, and abusive to give money with strings attached.
- The Flaunter
This person spends money to demonstrate social success. They drive a nice car and live in a nice house, but oftentimes, they’re in such massive debt to keep up the façade. These people often spend money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. It’s not a sin to drive a nice car or have a nice house but if the motive of the heart is impure, it’s a problem.
- The Scorekeeper
For these people, money is like video games or sports. If your portfolio is performing well, theirs is performing better. If you got a good interest rate, they’re right there to tell you they got a lower one. If you got a bonus, they got a higher one. If you have equity in your house, they have more. For them, everything is a competition.
- The Giver
The giver doesn’t inherently love money, but they love God and love people and use their money to love God and people. They look for opportunities to take what God has given them and give it to others. This is where we should strive to be, and where God would want us to be.
Which of these money personalities would you say you are? If you’re married, talk with your spouse about each of your money personalities and how you each grew up. How can you work towards becoming more of “The Giver” and having more of a heart of generosity with God’s money?