No. 629



When it comes to money, the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) had it right. He said, “Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment, it insures the possibility of satisfying a necessary desire when it arises.” To my way of thinking, the key word in this quotation is “need” and the people in our nation today who are in deep financial trouble are those who base their lifestyle on wants rather than on their needs. The key to understanding what I want to share with you in this column is to know what constitutes a real need, because that is where most people have a difficult time.
We know that we all have five basic needs, which are food, shelter, clothing, transportation and medical care. In our prosperous nation, most of us can take care of these five basic needs, but other real or imagined needs such as mental, physical, social, spiritual and psychological needs cause many people to go into debt and find out too late that they are in over their heads. It’s always sad for me to see or hear about thousands of people who are losing their home due to foreclosure because they could no longer pay the mortgage. Automobiles and other items are also repossessed for the same reason. Please understand that I am not judging anyone, because I always like to see people succeed and have more of the good things of life.
Except for the very wealthy, most of us fight the battle of income vs. outgo day after day. What I hope to accomplish here is for some who will read this column and are hurting financially to think seriously about what constitutes a real need, as opposed to wants, and then change their focus and their priorities. Most of us spend too much time at work, trying to earn more money, but I have never heard of anyone on their death bed who said, “I just wish I had spent more time at work.”
Money is important in today’s society, but how much is enough to live the way we really want to live? That’s the real question, because no one yet has ever taken any with them when they left this earth. Something a friend sent me the other day really got me to thinking, and I would like to share it with you. This is a list of things that money can and cannot buy. “Money can buy a house, but not a home. Money can buy a bed, but not sleep. Money can buy clocks, but not time. Money can buy clothes, but not character. Money can buy hospitals, but not health. Money can buy books, but not knowledge. Money can buy food, but not an appetite. Money can buy companionship, but not love.
“Money can buy position, but not respect. Money can buy blood, but not life. Money can buy insurance, but not protection and safety. Money can buy physical comfort, but not mental contentment. Money can buy real estate, but not real joy and happiness. Money can buy earthly entertainment, but nothing of eternal significance. Money can buy possessions, property, popularity, prestige and pleasure, but not perpetual peace with God. Money can buy things, but Money is not everything.”
If you find yourself caught up in the rat race, and sometimes it can’t be avoided on the short-term like those people who are wasting $72 billion each year on gasoline costs, sitting in traffic jams, you may want to give some serious thought to what I have been saying.
Let’s face it, there are some people who have a lifestyle where they get paid on Friday and they are broke on Monday, and yet did not pay their rent or make their car payment. Unless these people decide they want help, there is no way that anyone can help them. Usually it’s a lack of education. However, for most people who are struggling financially, there is hope when they will make a personal commitment to live below their means and to get out of debt. This takes time, but it is possible and that’s the good news.
As I’ve said before, it’s nice to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s also important to check up from time to time to make sure we have not lost the things that money cannot buy. I have no way of knowing which side of the ledger your finances are on, but I care because life is too short for those individuals to have to avoid people and have bill collectors calling every day. A lot of people say that money is the root of all evil. This is not true. It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil. When we learn to manage money and keep it in the proper perspective, it becomes a real blessing. The more we share the more it comes back to us. The most satisfying thing for me is giving my tithe at church, because I know where my blessings are coming from.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)