It was about 10 years ago when I got the inkling that money might be an idol for me. I was reading “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller and realised that there were different ways you could idolise money. I always thought someone who idolised money would work every hour of the day, to earn loads of money, so they could buy lots of really expensive things. But I learnt that I was the type of person who liked to store up money in the bank and idolised the security that it gave me.
My fears and anxieties about money have gone up and down over the years. When I first got married my anxiety was quite high. There was someone else involved in decision making about how money was spent which I found very challenging. Things settled down again whilst we saved to buy a house, there was money in the bank, I was happy! Then we had a baby and bought a house and the fears began to grow, yet as God continued to provide for us, they settled again. Then another baby was on the way and the fears grew again. The discontent set in and affected other areas of my life. Yet again, God continued to provide for us and the fear subsided.
A few weeks ago, I attended the ReNew South Yorkshire conference and there was a seminar called “Money in the light of eternity”. I signed up, knowing that even though I wasn’t going through a “bad patch” at the moment, money has been an issue for me, so I thought it may be useful.
The speaker took us to Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Idolatry of money can be a subtle sin which can look very much like being sensible, careful and a good steward of what God has given us. When in fact we are building up treasures for ourselves on earth which will not last, because they make us feel safe, good about ourselves and wealthy. We were challenged during the seminar to think about treasures in heaven, where will we invest in our money? Will we spend our money on ourselves to live a comfortable life? Will we save it up for our retirement or to give to our children as inheritance? Will that make us feel safe? Or will be build up treasures in heaven? Will we support those in pastoral ministry locally and around the world? Will we invest in our time and resources in evangelism and mission?
Following the seminar my husband and I had a long chat about how we could be investing in gospel ministry rather than storing up treasures for ourselves. It’s always been something we’ve been keen to do but following the seminar we’ve decided to continue giving to our church and also give to another local Christian charity which is close to our hearts. We’ve also started a savings pot specifically to be used towards funding a future apprenticeship scheme for someone who wants to pursue full time ministry.
Idolatry of money continues to be an area that for both myself and my husband we need to keep in check. Money is a good gift from God and it is important to use it wisely, it’s important for me to remember it’s a gift and how important it is to be generous with what I’ve been given, rather than storing it up for myself to make me feel safe.