Thursday, 14 September 2023 11:55

Having money or it having you!

Written by  Farmer's Chaplain Colin Miller
With money, when is enough, enough? And why does any happiness attached seem to be so fleeting; and at other times it can be so destructive? With money, when is enough, enough? And why does any happiness attached seem to be so fleeting; and at other times it can be so destructive?

OPINION: I have heard or read this little story multiple times.

Someone asked a successful multimillionaire, “How much money will it take to make you happy?” To which he quickly replied, “Just a little bit more!”

While I can’t vouch for the actual authenticity of this story itself, it surely does put its finger on some serious truth. With money, when is enough, enough? And why does any happiness attached seem to be so fleeting; and at other times it can be so destructive?

Like many of you will have, I have seen families in turmoil over different versions of this. For one example, a parent – or both parents – are now deceased, so there is a will to be settled with some serious coin to be disbursed. Families that enjoyed being together every Christmas and seemed happy enough doing the birthday thing as well, are now at each other’s throats and talking about getting lawyers involved.

Why? What’s with that? It’s all because of the assets and money involved! Now this same ‘happy’ family is being ripped apart. Sad indeed!

A young UK woman at just 17 won something like NZ$1.9 million. She said it changed her life for the worse. In her words, “I was scared to walk out my front door.” Quite apart from the blackmail, threats, and other yuck stuff she had to wade through, were multiple marriage proposals, pretty much on a weekly basis! Where were all these wannabe husbands before the lottery win? She soon realised it wasn’t her that was attracting their attention, it was the money.

In 2010, a 58-yearold UK man died penniless and alone, just five years after winning 9 million pounds in the lottery. His words: “My life was brilliant. But the lottery has ruined everything. What’s the point of having money when it sends you to bed crying? If I could crawl back on broken glass to where I was, I would. The lottery has ruined our lives.”

Sadly, stories like these are too common.

Of course, money is very much a life essential in a culture like ours. We pay our way through life with it. Everyone has basic living expenses that have to be met. Whenever I have been asked about this, or had the opportunity to speak about it, I have always acknowledged that. Yes, money is essential to live in a culture like ours. But there is a difference between you having money, and money having you. A huge difference! I’d suggest here, that’s a life lesson we should be quick to learn.

When it comes to major financial windfalls, like I have mentioned above, here’s my take: If the money is bigger than you are, then it will probably lead to your undoing, even to your ruin. However, if you are bigger on the inside than the money, then you will be okay. When the dust has settled, it will come back to character… or the lack of it!

In support of my take on this, I quote the late Henry Ford: “Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish or arrogant or greedy, the money brings that out, that’s all.” How true!

I have seen both – from a distance and up close and personal. Money can easily become a very harsh taskmaster. Serving that taskmaster leaves all kinds of brokenness in its wake.

Not for me. Too many other things matter more. Like family and friends. And yes, my faith too.

God Bless

To contact Colin: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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