TIME Magazine

I just got done reading a TIME article from their September 18, 2006 edition. The question above that is the title of the article struck a chord with me for obvious reasons. And it caused me to really think about the answers. As is the case with most religious questions, there will be opinions on both sides of the fence.

Growing up and going to Saturday school and church on Sundays, I had never felt it was ingrained that God would love me more if I was a rich man. That wasn’t a way to ‘get into heaven.’ I even remember some of the teachings say it was better to give your money away.

When I was in Cleveland doing the WEWS ABC interview, Ted Henry surprised me with many questions about spirituality and faith. He asked a similar question about God and money. I haven’t seen the tape, so I don’t know exactly how I answered, but I know it wasn’t that God is disappointed in me because I left the money to try and find inspiration and purpose.

I agree with Rick Warren of A Purpose-driven Life, who says in the TIME article, “You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth.” That is easier said then done. When we compare what we do for a job with others, the first thing that typically comes up is salary. How much do they make? Or, they make that much? How about the kind of car we drive or the neighborhood we live in. We’ve been trained via marketing and advertising to associate nice things with happiness.

My philosophy on the question is God wants us to do good things and to be happy. Money is part of the equation, but it is not the only part of the equation. Does he care more for the now passed CEO of Enron because he did whatever he could to get rich? Who knows, he may have donated millions to his church. Does that make him higher in God’s eyes than the woman who works in the inner city at a school making no money and living on a violent street? From what I recall, I would say God looks at the woman’s sacrifice and impact with higher regard than Ken Lay.

And now let’s not even talk about a bad guy. How about anyone rolling in the coin. Does God look at them better? If God is as wise and powerful and knowing as I make him to be in my mind, no way. He will thank the rich for how they help others. Look at Bill and Melinda Gates. They have done amazing things with their money. They may have had more of an impact than anyone of our generation. God would be proud of how they spent their money. But does their work overshadow the work of one person helping one poor, inner city child? I don’t know. I guess only God does. You do what you can with what you have.

To get to the point here, I don’t think God wants us to be rich. God wants us to take the unique talents and personalities we’ve been given and use them for the benefit of ourselves and others. If that makes us money, so be it. If it doesn’t and you still do what you feel you’re supposed to, I think God is still in your corner. Maybe even more so.

So if God is reading this and is laughing at my foolish act to leave the secure money of my job to travel the country interviewing people and now writing a book and speaking about what I’ve learned, I guess I’m screwed.

Here is the article: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448,00.html