Tag: Money

Your Money and Your Life

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle (Proverbs 23:4-5 NLT).

Like most everyone else, I have been paying close attention to the headlines about the worldwide economic situation. What is happening today will not only affect me now and in coming years, but will potentially affect every member of my family – including my grandchildren.

Debt that is being incurred now will be born by those tomorrow. Reading articles like “The Next Generation’s Debt Burden” on gop.gov and staring a few moments at usdebtclock.org can be very depressing. Ignoring the reality, however, will not make this money problem go away.

News from other countries is now instantaneous. Bloggers and tweeters share opinions immediately. A crisis in one part of the world – no matter what it is, economic, war, weather, political unrest, etc. – is felt around the world. The domino effect of this financial crisis has shown us that we are all part of a global community.  It is truly worldwide.

Recent research done by Britain’s University of Cambridge has revealed that the suicide rate in the United States more than quadrupled between 2008 and 2010. Aaron Reeves, who led the research, submitted his results to the Lancet Medical Journal. Obtaining his data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, his analysis showed that around 1500 more people in the U. S. committed suicide compared to what would have been expected or forecast if trends from 1997 to 2007 had continued.

Rising unemployment was blamed for at least one quarter of the rise in suicides in the U.S. since the beginning of the Great Recession.  Greece, Spain, Britain and other countries with similar rises in unemployment have also produced a similar increase in their suicide rates.

Before this report was released, The American Journal of Health reported that the largest increase of suicides occurred during the Great Depression. Obviously money woes  – or more accurately, how you deal with money issues – can have a disastrous effect on your health and your life.

This problem seems to be predominately in affluent cultures. Luxuries are considered necessities. Where abundance is available, it comes to be expected and missed more sorely if it becomes scarce or disappears.

Helen Steiner Rice, a well-known poet, married Franklin Rice in 1929. Franklin, a wealthy man, was so confident that the nation’s problems were short-term and would recover from the economic downturn that he invested even more heavily in the stock market. Shortly after losing his fortune due to that unfortunate decision, Helen discovered that he had killed himself, leaving her this note:

“Darling, the only thing I’m sorry about is that I never could give you all the things I meant to. I hope you believe that I really wanted to give them to you, and I could have given them to you before everything went….Keep the picture of me in my uniform and think of me once in a while…You’ll get along fine, I know. You’ll always go on. I only knew one world. I just can’t go down and become a bum–I have to go out with the band playing.”

Of course, what Franklin did caused Helen much more pain than the loss of any material things. She not only no longer had her husband by her side, but after the estate was auctioned off to pay creditors, she had to go back to work. A strong Christian woman, Helen never remarried, but recovered from her loss by seeking God’s direction in her life.

As a missionary, I am privileged to have friends around the world who are extremely happy without any possessions to speak of. Some of them have never known the kind of luxuries that many in the developed western world have become accustomed to. Often they don’t have enough to eat, but that doesn’t stop them from loving God and others. It is not that they are unaware of their lack. It’s just that their perspective is on the eternal, not the temporal. Just like Jesus, doing the will of God is their food. Even though there may be instances of suicides in these places, I am unaware of any. My friends are too busy being productive in God’s work to worry about what they don’t have.

Helen Steiner Rice says,

“Our greatest comfort is to know that ‘the same God who helped us before is ready and willing to help us once more.” All God asks of us is that we believe, and we must believe enough and have enough faith in Him that we will refuse to let anything shut Him out of our lives.

Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain,

Laughter and teardrops, pleasure and pain –

Low tides and high tides, mountains and plains,

Triumphs, defeats and losses and gains –

But there never was a cloud that the SUN didn’t SHINE THROUGH

And there’s nothing that’s IMPOSSIBLE for Jesus Christ to do!”

© Stephanie B. Blake

February 2013

* Quote and poem taken from In the Vineyard of the Lord: Lights and Shadows from the Life of Helen Steiner Rice, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979, p. 112, 113

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Jesus and Money

When possessions become more important than God or people, your perspective in life is backwards. It is God who gives us all things to enjoy. Without Him, we would have nothing. He puts such a value on us as people that He sent His Son to die in our place.

That’s why, I think, that when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, He replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Obeying this commandment enables us to view life the way God intended. Giving Him first place in your life does not rid you of anything. Instead, it enriches you.

Those who are truly rich are those who can love – they can receive love and they can give love.


“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Jesus demonstrated how to prioritize.

His choice of earthly status was deliberate. The Son of God chose to be born in a humble stable with a manger for His crib. He did not choose a princess to give Him an earthly body, but a young peasant girl. The man who raised Him as a child was not a lawyer, a teacher or a rich man. He was an ordinary carpenter.

Jesus mingled with both rich and poor. He did not condemn the rich, nor accuse the poor. His teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount, address attitudes toward money – always emphasizing that a person’s heart will be bound to what he treasures.

The group of twelve disciples that followed Him throughout His ministry came from all walks of life. Most were fishermen. One was a tax collector. Some of their occupations were unknown, but once committed to following Jesus, they left behind their old lives. They lived as their Teacher lived – without dependence on worldly goods.

At one point, Jesus appointed seventy other disciples to go to cities ahead of Him. His instructions were specific. They were to go out two by two carrying no supplies with them. The willingness of those they visited to supply their needs with an open home and shared possessions would be evidence of their reception to the message of the disciples.

Jesus often spoke about material things and money, knowing that was always an issue on the minds of men. Many of His parables were about money, property or wealth.

He wanted to drive home the point that what you do with the material resources you have been given is very important and has consequences.

© Stephanie B. Blake

October 2012

* an excerpt from “Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today”

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