I love money. Do you?
Bright, shiny money. The more the better. Crispy Benjamins, bank accounts with commas in them, we just love money. Given the biblical warning about this, it seems we need to do serious business- I need to do serious business- with our all pervading, overwhelming love of money. So let’s do that, shall we? I want to talk about three things over the next 3 weeks in our Enews about our oh so favored topic: Money. First up, let’s think of money as a currency.
That’s axiomatic. Of course money is currency. But I don’t mean it merely literally. What I mean is, we don’t love money because we love green paper, and we don’t even love it because we can trade it in for cars and Play Stations, and clothes and trips. We love it because cars and Play Stations, and clothes and trips give us what we really want. Let’s go to that level and think about those things.
I have been pondering this as I seek to understand my own disorder here and I came up with 5 things I think we long for in the core of our being, and that we try to buy with money. The way we rank these varies from person to person, or at different times for any given person, but this is what we want or money to give us. Here’s my list:
Power, Pleasure, Identity, Security and Rest.
Is one of those brighter and shinier to you than the others? Some are probably of passing concern and not as alluring. But for everyone here, I bet at least one is something you cling to.
Do you love to be able to affect the outcome on an election, to sway people, get your way and influence the world. Join the club. Money is often a means to power. Just ask the Koch brothers or George Soros.
Or is it delicious food, amazing views, and luxurious adventures? Pleasure can come though anything you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, feel.
Some of you might think, nah, it’s not either of those, it’s identity. You might think, “I love living in my neighborhood because it validates my success. I‘d be ashamed to live in a cheaper home.” Or, “I am already ashamed and I want to move up!”
For others, money promises protection against future harm. If you like to save more than you spend, this is probably you. Money is a hedge, a buffer, a moat, a shield. It brings security.
Or maybe, it’s rest. Money allows you to pay someone to cut your grass, clean your home, do your taxes, so that you don’t have to. Freedom from difficult or drudging tasks may be what you love about money.
Take a second: is one of these more obviously a huge deal to you? I suspect we all come in at different points.
Here’s the thing, in case you fear I am rebuking your deep want of any those five things, I’m not. Not even close.
Your longings and my longings for power, pleasure, identity, security and rest aren’t bad, and they aren’t going away. Not Ever. The deep longings of our souls will never be turned off. If I were to say to you, “Stop longing for pleasure” or to another, “Lay down your need for security” or “Stop seeking rest,” it would be vain. Your heart will never not long for those things. Neither will mine.
Further, as long as you have found something that you think will give you what you want, you will never just let it go either. Until, at least you find something better.
Those five things, Power, Pleasure, Identity, Security and Rest are not going away, but are hard wired into your heart. And they have at least one other thing in common, too.
Stay tuned for next week and I’ll tell you what I think that is. For now, just consider which one ranks highest in your heart. What do you love most about money?