Success. The world is calling. It offers money, power, influence, and authority. All you have to give up is your time, your honesty, your life, and your soul…
…OK, I am exaggerating a little, but the Bible doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to money and power. Scripture contains over 500 references to prayer, 500 references to faith, but that is nothing compared to the 2000 references to money. One-out-of-ten verses in the New Testament deals with money. If this topic is so important, how do we approach it? In my opinion, boldly.
A quick google search shows me articles like “How To Get The Most Out Of Your New Job” and “Keys To Success 6 Traits The Most Successful People Have In Common“. These articles might help you make more money, get the job you want, or even gain you respect; however, they will not give you lasting peace. Christians do not need to view success as being centered around ME. Jesus most certainly did not.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Galatians 5:24 (ESV)
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the po0r, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.Mark 10:21-22 (ESV)
These verses make it pretty clear, that self-worth and financial success will not get you anywhere with the Big Guy **points up ominously at the sky** Our careers shouldn’t be about us, they should be about others.
I attended a conference held at the Briner School of Business hosted by the Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute. Christian business leaders from around the US came and gave advice. One topic of conversation was networking, and something I found interesting was, their advice that networking is not about what you get, but rather what you give. I believe this is a very Biblical approach. Two of the gentlemen speaking were very good friends, and became so only because Fred (founder of the Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute) introduced them. By focusing on giving to others you free yourself from the stress of trying to connect with “the right people”. Have trust that when the time comes, someone in your network will return the favor and connect you with the right people.
Soooo, chasing success is bad, Christians should not try to advance their careers at all, right? WRONG! Scripture has lots of examples of how money can be a tool for good if used correctly. For example:
Soon afterward [Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.Luke 8:1-3 (ESV)
These women gave of their money freely to provide for Jesus’ ministry. The worst-kept secret in scripture, is that money is a not evil, but rather attachment to money is evil.
Thinking this way, I would draw the conclusion that it is not wrong to be successful, so long as you are not attached to the money and power it provides. Some financial advisors (who are also Christians) are offering solutions on how to use money and not let money use you. Peter Grandich founded a company called Trinity Financial Sports & Entertainment Management Co. that uses Biblical principles of money management to teach people (specifically professionally athletes) how to utilize their resources to their best ability.
I am going to close this blog with a song. One of my new favorite bands is My Epic. They are a christian rock band with some powerful, thought-provoking lyrics that are heavily based on scripture. This song, entitled “Confession,” is based on “confession of trust psalms” and is all about remembering where our true treasure lies. In Jesus Christ.
Pursue success and money if you wish, but be sure that at the end of the day, the resources you gather are only tools to build Christ’s Kingdom. “[He] alone is my treasure” (“Confessions” by My Epic). Grace and peace.