They say, “Go big, or go home,” and in a game show that might be a good idea. Unless you know you will be happier with the smaller prize, go for the big one when you have the chance, no matter how slim the chance is. But what works for a game show doesn’t always work for life in general. Yesterday I was reading about the contrast between Craft and Success, in Rob Bell’s book, How To Be Here. Basically, Craft is doing something because you want to and the thought of doing it energizes you and gets you out of bed in the morning. You don’t care if it will make you rich or famous. Success on the other hand, drives you to pursue more, even when you already have all you want or need. You tell yourself, “I’ll know I’ve arrived when ____________________.” Then, when you achieve whatever it is you would put in that blank, you realize it doesn’t feel as satisfying as you had imagined, and you ask, “I worked hard all those years for this?” It’s what Solomon called “chasing the wind.”
In a similar vein, going big when starting new habits will make them harder to keep. I heard Tim Ferriss explain that it’s better to set the bar low at the beginning. Just go to the gym for ten minutes twice a week, for example, just to get in the habit. You want to make getting into the habit easy because you have a better chance of making it stick.
As I pondered these things I realized that writing is my Craft. I do it because I want to do it. I like knowing that I have encouraged someone. Even if I help only one person, I know what I’m doing is worth while. I don’t need Success, and I don’t need to write long posts, I need consistency. Long or short, I need to write something everyday. I write because it’s my Craft and I want to make the habit stick.
Most of our financial struggles come from having the wrong attitude toward money. Some people think money is evil and others believe money is the answer for everything. Both ideas are the wrong way to look at money. Money is neither good or bad in itself. It’s a tool and like any tool it depends on how you use it.
• Money isn’t evil
The idea that poverty more virtuous than wealth is popular with some people. I think it’s due in part to a misreading of the Bible. Jesus instructed one man to sell everything and give the money to the poor. (Mark 10:17-22) Some conclude that rich people can’t go to heaven. But that isn’t the point of this story. Jesus was exposing the fact that the man loved his money more than God. In another place the Apostle Paul tells his protégé, Timothy, that those who pursue riches will fall into a trap that leads to destruction, because “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10) Neither Jesus or Paul are saying money itself is bad, but that the LOVE of money is the root of the problem.
• Use money for good
Money is like any other tool. You need it to do things. When I was roofer I needed an air nailer to put up shingles. In the same way I need money if I’m going to help people. A lot of people misunderstand what money is for. They think money is for having, but the real purpose of money is doing. Sometimes having money or the things it can buy is a means of doing, but having it is never the end in itself. In his talks, Bob Proctor tells people, “Money enables you to extend the good you do far beyond your physical presence.” And the more money you have the more good you can do.
As you consider what to use your money for keep these things in mind:
• Bless others
The money and possessions we own have been granted to us to bless others. I need this reminder often! I tend to think selfishly about money.
• Be content
If our daily needs are being met and we have an emergency fund, we should be content with that. If we have extra we should ask, “how can I bless others with this.”
Remember, money is just a tool. Use it to do good!
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