A few weeks ago, I met with a friend who suggested that I read the book “The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources” by Lynne Twist. Upon hearing the description of the book, I was immediately intrigued.
Twist begins her book by reminding her readers that people created money. We developed coins and later paper, plastic and even digital formats that are used everyday to help facilitate the exchange of goods. Even though we created it, we have given up our power over money. Instead, we have permitted money to have power over us. For example, advertising consistently perpetuates the myth that there isn’t enough money, time, or goods to go around. We as consumers believe this myth so we are constantly trying to acquire more as fast as we can. Twist argues that this relationship with money is destroying our souls and our happiness.
Twist argues that if we want to be truly happy we need to redefine our relationship with money. Instead of allowing the fear of scarcity to rule our day, she contends that we need to focus on sufficiency, the idea that there is enough. When we do so, we can begin to allow money to flow like water—in and out. Once this happens, people are then able to reclaim their power to direct the flow of the water. Subsequently, we will discover that wealth has so much more to do with how we live rather than how much money we have.
As I work through Twist’s book, this message continues to resonate with me. In countless stewardship sermons over the years, I have listened to similar messages. Whether the pastor spoke about sharing what we have (Luke 3:11), recognizing that our worth isn’t based on the total value of our possessions (Luke 12:15, Matthew 6:19), or that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10), the desired effect was always to help members realize that life and wealth is so much more than what we possess. Yet, the church rarely talks about the positive aspects of money. Instead, we perpetuate the idea that money is a “necessary evil.” Twist would maintain that this idea gives money the power to control us.
As a pastor and a mother of three, Twist’s book is encouraging me to ask questions like: What am I teaching my congregation and my children about money? What if money isn’t a “necessary evil” but rather a resource for good in the world? What if we could “align [our] money with [our] deepest, most soulful interests and commitments”?
These questions and others are ruminating in my mind and as they do, they are changing my thoughts about money and the world in ways I hadn’t expected.
What do you think? Is money is a “necessary evil” or a resource for doing good? I invite you to use the comment section below to share your thoughts.