Money is a tool, right? We have all heard the misquoted Bible verses about money being evil. We might even have some ideas floating around in our heads about people who have money, like lots of it, like more than us. They must be inherently evil, or surely they have at least done some pretty evil things to have that much money in their possession. But, what if I stopped you right there? I want to remind you about some truths about money. You ready? Truth: Money isn’t evil. It is actually amoral. It can’t be good or bad. It can’t even behave. It just is.
While it’s not good or evil it is special. The Bible mentions money more than many other seemingly more important topics (think sex, marriage, parenting, land or business ownership). Some counts are at around 800 mentions of money in the Bible. But what if it isn’t mentioned all of those hundreds of times because it is something to be feared? What if it is indeed a tool and God wants to make sure His people know how to use it wisely? He knows the consequences we could face if it is mishandled. He’s a parent with rules, trying to keep us safe.
Now, here are five ways money is like a chainsaw. Don’t give me that look just yet … read on!
1. Money is a tool – Just like a chainsaw (or lawnmower, or hammer, or cement truck) money is a tool. And tools have proper and improper uses. You can’t use a lawnmower to cut down a tree, and using a chainsaw to prune your rose bushes is overkill. The same goes for money. It’s a tool that has proper uses. You have probably noticed, it’s when people try to use money improperly that they get a bad reputation. Money is supposed to be used to buy milk or even real estate. It is not supposed to be used to make friends or get job promotions. When money is used as a tool where it isn’t intended it does more harm than good, just like pruning your rose bushes with a high powered chainsaw.
2. Money usage requires instruction – I have four children, currently all under the age of 10. And I can tell you one thing for sure: NONE of them is ready to operate a chainsaw. I’m not ready to operate a chainsaw. In fact, we don’t even own one. We have a limb in our front yard right now that needs to be cut into smaller segments to be hauled away. I could head over to Lowe’s this afternoon and buy a chainsaw to use for this very purpose, but it would be insane for me use it without some type of instruction! Understand me – I have never even held a chainsaw before. Can you imagine how dangerous? Money is the exact same way.
Because it is more common than chainsaws, some of the mystery has been removed, but I can tell you from personal and professional experience that when people get into trouble with money, it is largely because of a lack of instruction.
Let’s take this a step further and go back to the chainsaw example. Pretend I went over to the home improvement store and made that purchase. I’m confident the chainsaw would come with a booklet of instructions that I am plenty capable of reading, but it would still be incredibly unwise for me (who is not gifted at using tools of that magnitude) to use it to cut that limb up without some sort of additional instruction. I’m not even talking about a YouTube tutorial. I want someone in my yard with me the first time I cut with one of those suckers! Someone who has done it thousands of times and can school me on all of the things I don’t understand. The hidden dangers. Which brings me to my next point. Money can be destructive.
3. Money can destroy – What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a chainsaw? I think of someone sawing down a tree. Maybe it’s because the tree is dying or maybe they are clearing space for a new subdivision in town. But, most of the time when I think of chainsaws, I think of their destructive power.
Money can be just as destructive. How many of you know people who have seen their lives turned upside down because of some negative consequence of money? Someone loses a job with no savings. Their house drops dramatically in value and it gets repossessed. The market plummets just as they are getting ready to retire. Someone hits their vehicle and the responsible party has no insurance. For the last several years, around 800,000 people have filed for bankruptcy each year. That is destruction my friends. Just like a chainsaw, money comes with a lot of power, but to quote my son’s favorite superhero, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
4. Money can create beauty – Have you ever seen an artist sculpt a huge chunk of ice into an exquisite presentation with a chainsaw? It is incredible. But that doesn’t happen in the hands of just anybody. It happens when a skilled craftsman, who has spent hours learning and practicing, yields the tool. A chainsaw can also cut firewood to heat someone’s home in the winter.
The same goes for money. Money can be used to create beauty. I heard a personal story from someone recently about a businessman who paid the salaries of two individuals for two years while they were starting a non-profit! Another about someone who used his private jet to get a child to see a medical specialist in another state. These acts are beautiful. And, my friend, they were brought to you by money in the hands of a skilled artisan.
5. Money is best used in conjunction with other tools – Lastly, even as powerful as a chainsaw is, I know it can’t be used alone to bring down a tree. It’s a major part of the process, but it can’t do it alone. We currently have a tree that is slowly dying in our front yard. I’m trying to hold onto it as long as I can, but our friend and tree trimmer says it will need to be removed sooner than later. When he comes to do the job, I have a hunch he’ll bring at least one chainsaw. But I’ve seen him work enough times to know that’s not all he’s bringing. Along with his crew of workers and their big trucks, he’ll likely have a wood chipper, ropes and pulleys, small branch trimmers. Without all of these tools working in conjunction, the tree would still come down, but it would be much more likely to cause damage to the surrounding property when it did. These other tools must be present and actively participating in the task, or the job won’t get done effectively and efficiently. The same is true for money. Money is only part of the picture in any project. Most often, money needs time, wisdom, and people to get the job done. What about budgets and planning meetings? Not to mention savings and spending tools.
Chainsaws and money will both just sit there unused if someone doesn’t take the initiative to make them work. In the right hands, capable hands, kind hands, wise hands, they can do amazing things. Put them in the wrong hands, novice hands, cruel hands, ignorant hands, and the potential for harm is great.
So, I challenge you. The next time you think about how you will use money, take a moment to think about it like a chainsaw … you might just make a different move.