Monday, February 28, 2011

I Love Money

Money is one of those things that I can never really tell how I feel about it. I want to share my dilemma with money and my current conclusion about it and then hear your thoughts on it.

I love capitalism, America, and money. Sometimes when I tell people that I sound like this big jerk who is incredibly selfish and wants to hoard things. Allow me to better explain myself.

  1. My love for capitalism is in part because I love America so much=) But it's also from my view on meritocracy and I really believe that meritocracy is the driving force of capitalism. The more abilities you have, the more you'll succeed. Essentially, work hard, use your gifts, use your talents, and you can get places. Capitalism doesn't allow for slackers. Nothing may always be an option, but it's not a good option in the capitalistic system. That's what I love about capitalism. I love that it forces people to use their abilities and do something with them. [Now, I know that capitalism doesn't exactly work like this and some people do work hard and aren't really rewarded for it. I know the statistics, I know that the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. I'm a dang Sociology major, that's what we focus on. So don't hate on me too much, I just want to explain how I see capitalism.]
  2. I love America. End of story. Okay, not really end of story. Read part of the story here. I believe in America and the American Dream. I believe in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I think it's so cool that we have such a diverse country. That we have people from so many nationalities, so many backgrounds. People keep hatin', especially on Arizona currently on this subject. I won't get too much into it, but I really do think that people outside of America look up to America. I do. I really do think that America is influential. And yes, America has a lot to learn. I see that America messes up. But you know what? So does every other country. And so does every human. 
  3. The money part I will explain later, because that's going to be my main focus of this...
So money. Here's my dilemma: Money is a pain in the butt. I thought I hated money. I always need money for something. I needed money to get to South Africa. I need money for India. I need money for higher education. I need money for food, for shelter, for clothes. But! If I love capitalism, how can I hate money? And aren't there cool things I can do with money? I hate it, but I need it. What to do..

Here is what I have decided about money. 

I have decided that I don't hate it, I like it. I have decided that I don't totally hate that I have to raise money for India. I don't hate that I always need money. I don't think money is a bad thing. Check it out (for the most part, focusing on raising support for India, as that is what I am currently "needing" money for):

  1. Asking for money allows me to be humble. I can't get to India by myself. I can't make $5,000 in a few months. It requires me to say that I need help, that I can't do this alone. A person with pride in the way won't ask for money because they can't. Asking for money, raising support, has made me deal with my pride. It hasn't been the most fun...dealing with sin kind of sucks actually. I struggle with pride probably more so than what most people realize and it has put me in rough spots. But I had to deal with it. I have to deal with it. Not "deal with it" in the sense of I'll just live with it, but "deal with it" like I am going to confront it and tackle it. Like I am going to win this fight. Like I have Jesus on my side who has constantly been teaching me to be humble in every way not just certain areas. I don't hate that I have to ask people for money because it's such a humbling experience. 
  2. Giving money allows the body to be part of something. Not everyone can/wants to go somewhere far to serve. Yes, you can serve here. But when people give money, that shows that they support something. When people give money, they are making a significant contribution to something, to someone. There is a stewardship responsibility that God asks of us. Giving money allows people to take part in that responsibility and to be involved in a greater purpose. It's a way for people to get involved in something that God is doing in the world. 

Here's something else...I love having money. I love having money because it enables me to tangibly serve people. When I have money, I want to spend it on people. I love taking people out to eat and paying for them. At school, I have what are called transfers and every time I am behind/in front of someone who is about to pay for their meal with cash/card, I pay for them. And I do it when they are searching for their money so they don't even see or know until the cashier tells them that they are covered. And if I'm behind them I just look and shrug and if I'm in front of them, I just walk away. One time after I did that the guy came running after me and stopped me and just said, "Thank you" in the most sincere way. At NAU, this semester alone, I have been able to pay for at least 7 random people. It's been awesome. 

For my friend's birthday, I was trying to figure out what to do. I decided to give her money because I think one of the coolest things a friend can do is empower their friend. I knew that she wanted to help people, she wanted to give, but she didn't have the resources. So I provided her with the resources. I didn't give her a lot, because I didn't have a lot. I told her to give $5 to a panhandler. I told her to go downtown, give a panhandler the money and a note and tell them they are cared for. With $20 I told her to take a friend out to dinner, pay for their meal and have an intentional conversation with them. Be real with them. Learn about them. Give them your time. With $40 I told her to find an organization, one that they believe in. One that they find value in. One that that the purpose and mission is one that my friend's purpose and values line up with. Money can empower people.

Those are some cool things I have been learning about money. Stories of me giving money, of me asking for money, of me seeing what money can do. Money doesn't suck. It empowers people, it humbles people, it allows people to be involved. 

I love money. Not because I love things or want to hoard it, but because I love what I can do with it. I love that I can serve people with it. I love that it makes me deal with some of my crap. I love that it can draw me closer to Christ, trust in Him more. 

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