Money is a hot topic. Even a casual observer can see "moneytheism" (Piya Tan) trumping monotheism with unfettered capitalism being the world's largest religion having 8 billion adherents. It is no wonder that money is also a hot topic within religious circles and particularly in Christian debates on the false prosperity gospel.
While Jesus spoke mostly on God and His kingdom, faith and salvation and hell, he also spoke much about money in His parables and teachings. Jesus spoke positively about how money is to be used for God's kingdom purposes, family provision, and helping the needy and the poor; but He also warned sternly against the negatives of money and how love of money is the root of all evil. Money can easily become the counterfeit god of our hearts, an idol replacing God as the source of our happiness and security.
In the world, we see and hear new-age self-help regimes that attempt to cast our gaze away from money per se to the life mission and purpose we are born with—a purpose that once found and expressed—would attract the money we want into our lives. While seemingly "spiritual" in orientation, such memes are both deceptive and delusional. Deceptive because they only appear not to focus on money when in fact the real hidden motive is money. Is it not the case that the focus on "life purpose" eventually "attracts" the money you want into your life? Does this not make money the terminal objective with life purpose enactment the enabling objective? Delusional because there is no hard evidence that the "law of attraction" is valid at all. Anecdotes do not make for evidence. I've not done a Cochrane search on this one but I doubt that there are any double-blind, randomised controlled trials on the law of attraction.
In Christian gloss, this new-age law of attraction meme can take a seemingly innocuous form that nonetheless betray its non-biblical grounding. We can for example think that money is like weeds in the garden. We do not care for them but they grow anyway as long as we focus on the mission God has given into our hands. And when we do, money is attracted to us without us striving to go and get it.
It is commendable that we seek God and obey His commission given to us, living our lives as best as we can in alignment with His will and calling for us. Yet, seeking our specific calling, usually vocational, can sometimes become an inordinate obsession in itself. This can become an idol if we are not careful. And underlying this idol-formation is a hidden desire for money and significance. Thus, the secret heart actually desires money to feel significant and secure while outwardly we claim to be striving to find and live our calling from God.
Actually, without even going into specifics, God's calling on all believing disciples of Christ is clear: the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, and the cultural mandate of flourishing the locale, neighbourhood, city, state, and nation where we live as resident aliens. The postmodern Christian fixation on "my personal calling" can sometimes become a camouflage for our self-occupied, self-indulgent flesh conditioned by secular or new-age platitudes. In other words, it is more Oprah and Tony Robbins than it is Jesus and Paul.
Biblically speaking, I think it is more fitting that we not think less of money but to think of money less, in fact as little as possible. There is no need to think less of money as if they are weeds. Better it is to not think of it at all or if necessary for reasons of daily logistics, to be minimalist in our allocation of cognitive resources to money. Listen to what Jesus has to say in Matthew 6:28-30:
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"
Our ultimate focus is on God in Christ alone, to the praise of the glory of His grace. That is, we give ourselves totally to the thought of God's glory—relishing Him, savouring Him, enjoying Him, delighting in Him, tasting and seeing Him again and again, enthralled by Him and ensconced in Him to the utmost degree, so that in all this He can be most glorified in us. In and through this divine symphony of white-hot loving worship, whatever we need to glorify God and exalt Christ in and with our lives will be provided for. Money is no longer an issue. God is. And He is supremely worthy of all our attention and love.