In the end the idol is always intended to be the servant of the idol worshipers and their desires. Thus it is humans themselves who are the universal idol, and that is why Paul calls covetousness idolatry. In coveting I elevate myself to the position of having my way and getting the things I want – regardless of others. But idolatry, of whatever kind, never works out well, because it is precisely a flight from reality and often, from knowledge of reality. – Dallas Willard: Knowing Christ Today
In my work in the financial services industry there are certain things people say to me on a regular basis that make my hair stand on end and my blood boil. Inevitably they come down to sentiments of greed and covetousness which at the end of the day are both forms of idolatry.
It’s subtle but it’s unmistakable. People will say things like; “I want my money to last as long as possible so that I can live the life I deserve.” Or “I want to avoid paying too much in taxes because the government is just going to waste my money anyway.” The entire financial industry is built on messages greed, selfishness and entitlement. “What’s mine is mine”; “I deserve it” and “don’t let the government take any more of my hard earned money than they have to.”
All these messages point to the same thing.
It’s putting yourself, your needs, your desires and your personal opinion above everyone else. It’s making yourself into your own personal God. It is covetousness and idolatry plain and simple.
We worship the things that give us what we want and make us feel good about ourselves. We fight for our “rights” and attempt to oppress and defeat those people and things that infringe on our ability to live the way we see fit. Psychologically it is exactly the same as the ancient savages who alternately worshiped the gods of rain and the gods of sun depending on what they needed for survival at certain times of the year. At the end of the day the ancient gods were set up to serve mankind.
How is our secularized world any different? Today we don’t worship a sun god but we do pay tribute to capital and the markets in a similar way. And we do it completely out of self interest.
At the Meekonomics Project our goals are different. Yes we want you to be financial secure, not so that you can live the high life but so that you are productive and not a burden to others. But if your focus is outward facing, toward society, toward the needs of others, once your own basic needs are met it’s time to give the rest away. Or in financial services speak – to leave a legacy.
Our mission is simple –
“To help people reconcile their relationships with God and Money through Education and Empowerment, to teach them to live Debt Free, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.”
It’s that last point that is the key in not allowing your life to become idolatry. We are not teaching you to build wealth for wealth’s own sake; we are teaching you to become an effective steward of what God gives you so that you can bless others and give it all away.
For us that’s what meekness, especially as it pertains to finances, is all about. It’s how we inherit the earth.
For more information on effective stewardship and philanthropy, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org