This might be an interesting question to tackle. Especially for some of you personal finance bloggers. Do you have an obsessive fixation on money and the desire to acquire more of it? Are you a mammonist?
It’s a little weird answering this question with a yes! Not to the belief that you might be a mammonist, but to the fact that you do want to acquire more of it.
But does that necessarily make us worship money? I don’t think so and I’ll tell you why!
Most of you are familiar with the Bible verse found in 1 Timothy 6:10 which states “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Key word being “love” obsessions, fixation, addiction; whatever word you want to use, you can interpret this verse to speak specifically about an insatiable thirst for money.
This thirst is the same as greed. A love for money that can’t be satisfied regardless of how much you have or plan to acquire. You want more!
I think a lot of us have also taken the idea that the love of money is the root of all evil into believing that money, itself, is evil. The first time I experienced this creation of the black beast of our society, was during the Occupy Wall Street movement in the early 2010s.
The Occupy Wall Street movement was fumed by dissatisfied, angry students, workers, and citizens. The movement came as a result of years of political corruption, economic inequality and other ailments suffered throughout the late 2000s.
The 99 percent vs the one percent movement portrays anyone who is financially successful as the problem with America. It is a slogan and a crutch for those that feel the system is letting them down because millionaires are making sure of that.
However, what began as justified cries of the previously mentioned American ailments slowly became a stage for jealousy, judgment, and bucket of excuses as to why someone is successfully managing their money and you aren’t.
This obsession is a double edge sword. You can love money and seek happiness through it, but it won’t satisfy you. At the same time, your obsession will lead you down a path where you blame everything on money, even if you don’t have it.
Money is important, but don’t give it more power than it actually has. Money is a tool, and it behaves according to those who wield it. By empowering money this way, you humanize something that is inherently inanimate. That is the greater mistake. So don’t glorify money by giving it human characteristics.
Don’t base every single decision on money
Being financially smart and planning your finances is not the same as spending recklessly and without emotion. Money is emotional, just like swinging a hammer is emotional, or cleaning. Yet, you must keep yourself from getting caught up with the dollar value of things.
Don’t make money decisions based solely on math and price. Don’t refuse to buy flowers for your wife because you think that after you buy them the flowers will die. Or buy a nice present for your better half after a promotion because you assume they will never use it or wear it. It is the thought that counts! The price tag can be deceiving. Some of the best gifts are the simplest.
Some things simply won’t make financial sense because they are based on emotional decisions. Even though your goal is to multiply your money and build wealth, not everything is going to give you a return on investment in cash. Some returns will pay off in happiness, learned knowledge, kindness, blessings, etc.
I think a money worshipping mammonist bases everything on how their dollar will appreciate or depreciate without evaluating the emotional impact on someone else.
Be a cheerful giver
Don’t hoard money. A hoarder keeps things and lets them deteriorate. Don’t let inflation and time deplete your money, invest it well and make it work. In addition to hoarding money, mammonists use it all on themselves. Be a charitable person, invest your money in people as well. Like any good investment, don’t just give it to someone without first having good information.
Sharing the blessings money brings will help you appreciate it more and will increase your happiness. Set some cash aside to donate to your favorite charity, help your family, or tithe to your church. This teaches you discipline when you budget, gratitude, stewardship, and almsgiving.
Money is a tool and money will help you do things that you would otherwise be unable to do. However, just because you have it, hopefully, so that you can spread well being and do good with it, doesn’t mean you practice mammonism.
Here’s a great example of the impact of money on society. A good intentioned poor person can go out and volunteer to help build a couple water wells in an area of high need. And that person did some good because the townspeople now have a clean source of water.
Now imagine the good that the same person can do if they are able to not only volunteer to help but to donate some money so that others could also volunteer. They can build 50 wells at the same time instead of just one. Both the poor person and the person with means have good intentions, but the latter has a greater impact on society.
So no, money is not evil! It’s just a tool, much like a hammer can be used to hurt someone or build a home for someone in need.