We’re in a series at GFMBC about personal finance entitled “Turning the Tables”. Yesterday I began with the story of Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers in Matthew 21:12-13. In that message I told our church to “focus on the money”. What does that mean? I’m going to explain but it may help to view the message to get deeper context.
Focus on the money means: pay more attention to the true value of money instead of focusing our attention on the non-monetary values we attribute to the things money can buy. Non-monetary values can be powerful motivators that lead us to make poor money decisions. Here are some common non-monetary values.
Emotional value: “If I buy this item, I’ll feel better.”
Social value: “If I buy this item, I’ll fit in.”
Esteem value: “If I buy this item, I’ll be perceived positively by others.”
Experience value: “If I make this purchase, I’ll have a special or unique experience.”
Physical value: “If I make this purchase my body will feel pleasure.”
Possession value: “If I purchase and possess this item, my life will be better.”
Adding these non-monetary values to our purchases can cause us to overvalue the things we buy. As a result, we may pay more for the items than they’re worth. “Time is money” but adding non-monetary values to the things we buy could cause us to make ill-advised purchases at the wrong times. We can be falsely motivated to make purchases while missing out on opportunities to make better use of our money for investments in our lives.
We need to focus on the money, understanding it’s true value. In the long run, the money is more important than the things it can buy. When we focus on the money, we’re less likely to overspend. We’re less likely to be tricked by slick marketing or predatory sales practices. We’re actually more likely to save money and have money in excess.
When we focus on the money, we are better able to reap the full benefits that money can provide. We’re better able to spend our money to take advantage of real opportunities. We are even better positioned to reward ourselves in ways that are meaningful and financially sound. We can even employ our money to make more money.