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Religion and Money: Strange Partners

Did you know that religion is tied to money? Every religion has a powerful influence on our economy and that influence is worth about 1.2 trillion dollars.

That’s what some economists tell us.

I was driving to work, a few days ago, and I was thinking about my employment future.

If you are wondering, we are doing well, and this is not a request for donations. I work for the local government, and our bills are paid, but with changing policies, my job could change. For example, I might have to work as a contractor, and I don’t think I want that.

I was having normal thoughts, the kind that most of us have. Don’t worry about me, I am a dedicated cheapskate. I’m sure you also have thoughts about employment and finances.

As I pondered my future, I turned on the radio, and I heard a familiar voice. You probably know who Dave Ramsey is:

Dave Ramsey is a famous Christian financial advisor who talks about managing our money and paying off our debts. He talks to us about our relationship with money.

In general, the message for me, that day, was that my happiness and success do not come from my employer, my banker, or the people who sell me stuff. I am a Christian, and I need to look higher.

I felt better right away, and I stopped fretting about my future. For that; thank you, Dave Ramsey. I am not promoting or advocating for him, but some of his ideas were good for me, a few days ago.

Among Christians, beyond the financial advisors, there is a belief system called the “Prosperity Gospel” that tells us God wants us to be rich. If you want to read more:

I don’t know if God gave us a direction to get rich but apparently about seventeen percent of Christians in the U.S. believe in some form of the prosperity gospel. If the count is correct, that is between thirty and forty million people.

Prosperity Gospel; some people love it, and some people hate it, but it’s hard to ignore. So, is religion about money? Are the rumors true?

What do you believe? A better question is; what do you believe in? Or even better; who do you believe in?

That belief defines your personal economy: how you earn, how you save and invest, how you borrow, and how you spend. If enough people have the same beliefs, a personal economy becomes a national economy.

Economists estimate that religion, in the world today, is worth about 1.2 trillion dollars. The world economy is dominated by what we believe, or who we believe in.

Did you know? It’s impossible to separate money and God. Religion is possibly the biggest influence on our economy, including Atheism and Communism. Belief is the economy.

Sometimes money is God. We can become focused on money and make that the source of our happiness and fulfillment. Jesus preached a sermon, to a crowd on a mountainside, and he told us “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

That’s clear, and God and money were together in the same sentence. You may know the word “tithe.” This is a concept from the Jewish Bible, the Christian Old Testament, that people were told to give God ten percent of their earnings. This was a common idea, in our family church, when I was young.

Today, the topic of tithing could easily start an argument, or end a conversation. It’s not so popular, these days.

I think there is something we should consider about tithing. We can only give ten percent if we first count one hundred percent. That is simple arithmetic. When we subtract ten percent, we have ninety percent left over, for ourselves.

Counting is accounting, and tithing means being aware and carefully managing our money. The opposite is spending carelessly, what we used to call spending like a drunken sailor. That is an appealing lifestyle, for too many people. That’s where people like Dave Ramsey come in.

Economists have told us, religion is a big part of the economy. It is a good influence or a bad one, and whatever influences each of us, becomes our economy. That will direct us to prosperity, or poverty.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2: 15 to 17)

And whatever music style you prefer, we should take good advice where we find it:

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