This might be an interesting question to tackle. Especially for some of you personal finance bloggers. Do you have a obsessive fixation on money and the desire to acquire more of it? Or are you a mammonist?
Before I considered writing this post, I felt a little weird answering this question with a yes! Not to the belief that I might be a mammonist, but to the fact that I do want to acquire more of it.
But does that necessarily make us mammonists? I don’t think so and I’ll tell you why!
Most of us are familiar with the bible verse found in 1 Timothy 6:10 which states that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Key word being “love” obsessions, fixation, addiction; whatever word you want to use I think it is speaking specifically about an insatiable thirst for money.
This would be the same as greed. In the sense that 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 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 years of the 2010s.
Fumed by dissatisfied and angry students, workers and citizens, the movement came as a result of the years of political corruption, economic inequality and other ailments suffered throughout the later years of the 2000s.
Although understandable, it also managed to portray anyone who was financially successful as the “problem with America.” the 99 percent vs. the One percent became a slogan and a crutch for those that felt the system had let them down because “millionaires” were making sure of that.
However, what began as a justified highlight of the previously mentioned American ailments slowly became a stage for jealousy, judgement, and bucket of excuses as to why someone was successful managing their money and you weren’t.
Do you base every single decision on money?
Here I’m not talking about being financially smart and planning your finances. I’m talking about how some of us get too caught up in the price of things.
I’m talking about making money decisions like buying some flowers for your wife because after you buy them they’re gonna die, and therefore seeing it as a waste of money. Obviously, all us smart husbands know that women love flowers regardless of the price tag and that such purchase can pay off greatly (wink, wink).
Some things simply won’t make financial sense because they are based on emotional decisions. Even though money is in fact emotional, 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 mammonist bases everything on how their dollar will appreciate or depreciate without evaluating the emotional impact on someone else.
Are you a cheerful giver?
Another thing I think a mammonist does is hoard money. In addition to using it all on themselves, mammonists are unwilling to spread that money and give to others.
Therefore, in our family we make it a point to always set some cash aside to donate to our favorite charity, help family, or tithe to our church. I think that this not only teaches budget diligence, but it also teaches us gratitude, stewardship, and alms giving.
The reality is this: Money is a tool and money will help you do things that you would otherwise be unable to do. However, just because you like having it, hopefully so that you can spread well being and do good with it, doesn’t mean you practice mammonism.
I heard a great example about the impact of money on society once. This was how a well intention 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 towns people now had a clean source of water.
Now imagine the good that same person has if they were able to not only volunteer to help, but to donate some money so that others could also volunteer, and they could build 50 wells at the same time. Both are well intended people, but one 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.