Some people hate shopping and venture out only to purchase what is absolutely necessary. Other people are almost addicted to the rush they get when they spend money. You know the drill: “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.” What is it about spending money on ourselves that is so compulsive?
Well, we’re all materialistic to some degree. If getting stuff makes me happy, then getting a lot more stuff will make me a lot happier, right? If... Read More
A great many people are terrified that sometime soon the earth will run out of petroleum deposits. In that view, fossil fuels are a zero-sum game—there is a strict, finite limit on how much oil exists underground, and when that oil is all pumped out, our cars will all wheeze to a halt.
That fear is behind the push for renewable resources, that is, drawing energy from theoretically infinite sources such as the sun, wind, and falling water. More and... Read More
Do you love paying taxes? I didn’t think so. Tax time is no fun for me either. I put it off as long as I can. I dread the tedious chore of filling out all the ever-changing forms. I dread not having had enough wages withheld and finding out that there will be no refund because I owe a lot more. I dread getting the official IRS letter informing me that my paperwork had mistakes and that I owe still... Read More
The way the IRS works, you can earn quite a bit of money before your income becomes taxable. All those below a certain level are excused from having to fund governmental services—they can ride for free.
God doesn’t manage his world that way. One of the most shocking stories in the New Testament is the story of the widow’s mite. A woman gave a contribution of several cents to her God at the temple. Jesus saw her do it and... Read More
It takes no brains to be an impulse spender. Advertisers and marketing people study your behavior, your preferences, and your life patterns to determine best when to jump you with their seductive spending come-ons. Food shopping, for instance, is no longer just food shopping. You are bombarded with marketing messages from the moment you drive into the parking lot, from the huge window signs to the hanging TV sets chattering at nobody to the point-of-purchase displays surrounding you as your... Read More
If you talk to people who dislike church (a.k.a. “organized religion”), high on the list of most-hated features is what they see as institutional money hustling. While most ministries authentically seek to reach out to people’s souls, sometimes all that visitors see (or choose to see) is the church reaching out for their wallets.
The real reason why Christian ministries gather offerings of money from worshipers and members is not because God is broke and needs our contributions. “I have... Read More
Earning interest on your savings is good. It sure beats stuffing cash under the mattress or slipping twenties into books or slowly filling up a safe deposit box. Because of the steady drip-drip-drip of inflation, though, money that isn’t moving is slowly losing its value. Even a bank savings account will barely keep up with inflation.
Good managers of God’s treasures look for investments. Maybe it’s investing in equipment that will make your business bigger. “Where there are no oxen,... Read More
The concept of interest on saved money has a strange history as it relates to religion. Many Muslim scholars believe that the Quran forbids usury, by which they understand the charging of any interest from one Muslim to another. This tends to make banking almost impossible, and enterprising Muslim businesspeople who need capital have to find all kinds of creative and contorted ways to borrow and save.
Historically many influential Christian teachers in times past also have thundered against the... Read More
Gambling is a huge industry in America. Las Vegas no longer has a monopoly on it—it seems that every state now has a lottery, riverboats, and American Indian casinos. Americans willingly threw away $34 billion in gambling losses just in casinos last year.
Some Christian leaders denounce all gambling as sin. And yet you will search the Bible in vain for a prohibition of gambling. Although the ancient world was full of games of chance, dice, and horse racing, the... Read More