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“For the love of money is the root of all evil.” ~1 Timothy 6:10

e12614b36f3cf0e2bc82d636af260050Love is a broad term. Some use it quite liberally, to encompass everything from tacos to their grandmother, while others quite specifically only say love when they mean the romantic kind. I guess when I see the word love I immediately think of family, but I can truly say that there are other things I love. Money just isn’t one of them.

Let me back up. I appreciate money. I covet it. I want more of it. But not because of the money itself — instead, it’s the power that money represents. I love power, and there’s a thin line between money and the power that can come along with it.

I’ve spent the majority of my life without so much as two nickels to rub together at any one point in time, living paycheck to paycheck and hoping a job is just around the corner when the previous one comes to an end. On the rare occasion that I’ve had more than a small amount of money at one time it hasn’t been about stockpiling it. It’s always been about supporting my family.

That’s what I think is the real difference between money, and the love of money. I would never roll around in a bed full of hundred dollar bills for fear that I would inadvertently lose on in the frolicking. That hundred dollar bill could be a year’s worth of milk for my family. Yes, that’s the difference. I don’t love money. If I could get those necessities and support my family without it, I would be just as happy.

il_570xn-485309020_tecvMoney is as money does, to loosely quote Forrest Gump. It’s a means to an end. That’s one reason I would worry if I hit the mega jackpot or received an 8 figure bequeathing from a long lost relative. Because I could with that kind of money easily take care of my family and still have a king’s ransom left over. With that kind of money I could fall in love, quite easily. I have an addictive personality, so I know I would develop an unhealthy attachment to having and maintaining it.

So I guess I agree that the love of money can be the root of some evil, but all evil? Too many horrible things happen in this world that have absolutely nothing to do with money, but everything to do with the depravity of human nature. Too much goes on that speaks to deeper levels of evil that money cannot touch. While I get the overall issues that can be associated with having “too much” money, the “mo money mo problems” scenarios that have cropped up all too often, I can’t make that blanket statement.

It’s not money, but how we deal with it, the true value we place on it, that really matters. Evil is as complicated as love, with many entrances and many hidden hallways to it. The love of money can be one of those conduits, but it is certainly not the root.

Sam

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the-value-of-moneyWell, Lexi turned eight a week and a half ago, and I’m still wondering where the time went. It seems like just yesterday we were having conversations about Winnie the Pooh, and now we’re talking about 9/11, religion, and math equations. In fact, I think she’s already better at math than I am, sad to say. And I have to say that our conversations are never boring, instead often leaving me in stitches.

But she still doesn’t seem to know the value of money, as evidenced by one of our most recent chats…

Me: So, why do you think you get an allowance?

Lexi: Because I deserve it.

Me: For what?

Lexi: Cleaning my room.

Me: And for that you deserve three dollars a week?

Lexi: Well, yeah. Can I get more?

Me: [laughing] You’re so funny. You’re lucky you’re getting three.

Lexi: And I know what I want to spend it on.

Me: What?

Lexi: I want a pony.

Me: And how are you going to pay for that pony?

Lexi: I’ll break open my piggy bank.

Me: How much do you think is in there?

Lexi: I don’t know. Sixteen hundred million dollars.

Me: I think you’re just a little off.

Lexi: Yeah, just a little. So when do I get my pony?

Me: When do I start getting money for cleaning my room?

Lexi: I think I might have enough left over in my piggy bank.

Sam

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They say that money makes the world go around, but isn’t it really the lack of money that does that? I mean, when you don’t have money you are forced to be creative with everything. Why do you think that most inventors talk about coming “from nothing” and “making something” of themselves? It is this lack of money that is a driving force in our world today. If we don’t have it, we want it, and we think of a lot of ways to get that money, honey.

Rappers sing about it until it becomes just a constant drone on the radio and in your beats by dre headphones. Jay-Z, or Ludacris, or T.I., or even Eminem laying down the dope rhymes about how much cash they make, and how they spend it lasciviously on everything and anything their hearts desire. They make it sound so glamorous, occasionally talking about how they came from nothing so they appreciate this new-found largesse, etc. But if they really appreciated it, why take so much time talking about how much they appreciate it? That’s simple. Because they don’t appreciate it. They want more, even though they haven’t found real ways to spend the money they have already accumulated. These are the same guys who complain the most about piracy because “it takes money out of our kids’ mouths.” Well, that sentiment aside, Mr. Kanye West (because money shouldn’t be in his kids’ mouths, after all), I don’t see their kids starving. You see what I mean?

Then you have the former sports players who in their primes made millions of dollars just for throwing a ball, or catching a ball, or hitting a ball, or hitting other people to stop them from getting or advancing a ball. These players who you hear about so often filing for bankruptcy not long after retiring from the sport that gave them all this money, only to see it all disappear, and indeed they are even in debt by that point. Why is this? That’s also simple to explain, because they don’t value money. They don’t remember what it was like to have nothing, even though so many of them came from nothing. So, they squander their money on STUFF, you know, things they don’t need or even want after a certain point, things they probably couldn’t line item for you if you asked, things that got repossessed when they couldn’t afford them anymore.

The value of money is an intriguing thing. Most times I don’t think we consider it, but all money is — is paper, and scraps of metal shaped into circles. Or more recently, it’s the idea that we have money, when we scan our debit cards and our accounts are deducted accordingly. What’s really amazing to me is the idea that we don’t have money now, but we will have money in the relatively near future, when we use those things we call credit cards. People run up so many credit card bills because it’s so EASY to do so. We don’t have to think about it for a month, and when the time comes to pay up, we only have to pay a fraction of what we spent! It’s like a miracle — until we reach our credit card limits, the bank is calling us to pay up, and we still don’t have money in our bank accounts. Oops. That’s why while we pay homage to the almighty buck, we don’t value money nearly as much as our ancestors did. We might want to take a page from their book sometime and never forget where we came from. Money or not.

Sam

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