It All Comes Down to This

“No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:3 (MSG)

If February had a theme, it would be, of course, love.  Sure, Valentine’s Day has become a bit commercial, with everything from cakes to multi-carat diamonds available in the shape of a heart, but it’s good to celebrate the people we love.

Love is the Bible’s theme as well.  Why did God send his Son?  Because he “so loved the world.” (John 3:16)  What’s the greatest commandment?  Love God. (Matthew 22:37) The second greatest?  Love others. (Matthew 22:39) How will people know we are Christ’s disciples?  That we love each other. (John 13:35) And as the apostle Paul pointed out in this month’s verse, we can do all manner of good works, but if we don’t have love, why bother?

Just a minute, you say, this is supposed to be a financial eNewsletter.  What does all this mushy talk about love have to do with money?  I’m glad you asked!

Too often money is thought of in purely objective terms—interest rates, price-to-earnings ratios, and such.  But what if we began evaluating our financial decisions on a price-to-love ratio—on the degree to which they express our love for others?

Before you wonder whether I’ve taken one of cupid’s arrows through the left side of my brain, hear me out on this.

Let’s say you’re offered a promotion with a big pay hike, but it requires a cross-country move.  In financial terms it looks like a no-brainer.  But what will be the toll on the friendships you’ve built where you are?

Let’s say you’re thinking about buying a bigger house.  The realtor assures you that you can afford the higher payments, and all that extra space and upgraded amenities would be nice.  But will the bigger mortgage add stress to your relationships?

It isn’t inherently wrong to opt for the cross-country move or the larger home.  But if all of our actions are to be guided by love, it’s important that we at least think through the impact such choices may have on the people we care about.  Doing so will help us get the absolute best return for our money.


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