Families, communities, and nations are stronger when we as adults understand and teach the proper role of money to the rising generation. We must understand that money is an item; it is neither good nor evil in and of itself but can be used for either good or evil.
We must also understand there is truth in the statement “Money makes the world go around” for without money we would have to fall back upon a barter system for food, clothing, housing, etc. On the other hand, money is limited in many ways.
I had a couple of Jehovah Witnesses stop at my home last week; I always try to be polite and visit with them. This time they actually stopped twice, once while going up the street and again on the way back in order to “make sure we stopped at every house.” The topic of our discussion was “A Balanced View of Money” and many of the ideas and quotes in this post come from their brochure.
One of the quotes in their brochure is this one from Norwegian poet Arne Garborg: “You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge, but not wisdom; glitter, but not beauty; splendor, but not warmth; fun, but not joy; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness.”
Many people believe “money is the root of all evil” and credit the Bible for their belief. In fact, the quote from the Bible is “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10; emphasis added). Anyone that puts their focus on money misses the big picture.
An ancient American prophet by the name of Jacob also taught about money: “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
“But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
“And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Jacob 2:17-19; emphasis added).
These scriptures tell me that money can be a useful item in our lives. We can use it to meet our needs and some of our desires. With money we can take care of ourselves and our families without the need to rely on other people, the government, or the church. We can also use it to help the less fortunate.
We must not put our focus on money and become like Scrooge McDuck who spent his leisure hours counting his gold. We must not allow the love of money to drives wedges between family members or friends. We must not allow ourselves to think that wealthy people are greedy or poor people are lazy. We must keep a balanced view of money and not let our thinking become distorted. We must remember that the “Bible neither condemns money nor criticizes those who have it – even a lot of it. The point is not the amount a person has but his attitude toward what he has or wants to acquire. The Bible’s – and the Book of Mormon’s - counsel regarding money is balanced, and it is as relevant today as when it was written….”
We must not teach or allow the rising generation to gain a distorted view of money. We must make sure that they understand that money is a neutral item that we can use to meet our own needs and to help other people. We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by modeling and teaching the proper role of money.