Sometimes we get so
caught up in making, managing, and growing our
resources that we forget that there are things in life that are much
more important than money.
Haven't you known
someone whom you admired and deeply respected and appreciated, even though they
had little? What did that person have
that gained your respect? What was it about
that person's life that caused you to realize that there's more to life than
This is the kind of life we should be striving
Character and Integrity - this is moral or ethical strength, and adherence to a code of behavior. Character is shaped choice by choice, day by day. It's about keeping promises, being honest, treating people fairly, and not backing down despite opposition, nor choosing the easy road over the right one. Riches can corrupt. Integrity is standing firm, and being incorruptible. "The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him." Proverbs 20:7 NKJV "Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall." Proverbs 28:18 ESV
A Good Reputation is precious. It does not rely on what gossip says about you, but instead relies on how you live. Live a life of integrity, and your reputation will follow. Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name (reputation) is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver or gold." (NKJV) A "good rep" has far more value than possessions. In the grand scheme of life, your reputation IS your wealth.
Wisdom is the only path to a full and fruitful life. By contrast, a sinful or foolish lifestyle is self-destructive. True wisdom in daily life = intelligence + moral integrity. It is instruction in upright living, and the realization that our efforts to live without God are meaningless. Likewise, wealth without wisdom is meaningless.
What does wisdom teach? Prudence (Proverbs 8:5,12), understanding (Proverbs 8:5), excellent things (Proverbs 8:6), truth (Proverbs 8:7), hatred of evil (Proverbs 8:7), righteousness (Proverbs 8:8), knowledge and discretion (Proverbs 8:12), and fear of the Lord (Proverbs 8:13).
What is the value of wisdom? Riches and honor (Proverbs 8:18), more valuable than gold (Proverbs 8:19), blessing (Proverbs 8:32,34), life-finding (Proverbs 8:35), and protection. "For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil." Proverbs 2:6-12a
Healthy Relationships - living and growing together in harmony. Healthy relationships require that we resolve differences and be as servants to one another. They also require an absence of envy and selfish ambition, for these only bring disorder and sin. Harmony does not mean we should all be alike. On the contrary, just like harmony in music, we sing the same song but different parts. Our song should be the same, but we should not. The result is something more beautiful than we could ever accomplish alone.
The Scriptures use different symbols for healthy relationships: The Body, which demonstrates our interdependence upon one another, because our growth relies on close fellowship where natural and spiritual gifts are feely expressed and exercised (I Cor 12, Romans 12, Eph 4); The Temple, which stresses our mutual commitment to holiness and worship (I Cor 3:16, I Peter 2:4-5); The Family, which emphasizes the importance of close, loving, personal relationships (John 13:33-34, Eph 3); and A Field, which demonstrates growth toward maturity (I Cor 3:5-10). God is the source of all growth. When we grow in maturity, the health of our relationships also grows. And growing healthy relationships is indeed more important than money.
Humility - this is the quality or condition of being humble; aware of one's shortcomings; modest; showing deferential respect; unpretentious. Getting the picture? This is the direct opposite of being prideful or self-centered. And honestly, who likes being around someone like that? God wants us to consider the condition of our hearts. Do we think of ourselves as superior to others because of abilities, status, or finances? Having humility means we accept God's blessings without feelings of superiority over others. A humble person is an honorable person. "The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility." Proverbs 15:33"A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor."Proverbs 29:23 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself."Philippians 2:3
Health - literally: "optimal functioning". If you've ever been truly sick or incapacitated for a length of time, you understand exactly why health is more important than money. What people with diseases and afflictions wouldn't give just to be healthy! Financial blessings quickly pale in comparison to the blessing of health. Good health, whether physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual, is a thing to be cherished. Don't take it for granted.
A Clear Conscience. When wrongdoing goes unconfessed, it festers and spreads beneath the surface into other parts of our lives. It takes humility and obedience to lay our sins and our questions at the foot of the cross. Heavy burdens are lifted, and with a clear conscience there is freedom! Living out our good character and integrity with wisdom and humility, which preserves our reputation, will always result in a clear conscience. Money can never attain that.
A Positive Pursuit. I've heard it said that you should spend your life on something that will outlast it. There's more to life than what goes on in our own "little world": Let's commit to investing our lives on something "bigger than ourselves". A clear conscience + a life committed to God and to others = No Regrets. To invest our time, our talent, and our treasure in kingdom pursuits is a life well-invested.
Contentment. Having money doesn't bring contentment. People with great riches often envy those who are content, because they come to realize---sometimes the hard way---that contentment is far more important than money. "All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast." Proverbs 15:15 "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." I Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)
"The Good Life" is not the pursuit of personal pleasure or worldly wealth, nor is it the absence of heartache and trials. Instead, it is a life directed by wisdom, shaped by character, rewarded by reputation, seasoned with harmony, softened with humility, enriched by health, emboldened by a clear conscience, and fulfilled by a mission. This is a life of no regrets.
This is a life of contentment.
And that is more important than money.
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