What If…

“Live for today.”

“You only go around once.”

You’ve heard these phrases; maybe you’ve even said them. They represent a popular philosophy – in essence, grab for all you can get right now since you don’t know what may happen tomorrow.

Similar words are even found in the Bible. When the apostle Paul sought to describe a philosophy of life if there was no heaven, he said, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

Paul’s comment was made within the context of a big “What if…” What if there is no life after this one? If that’s true, Paul said, then what else is there to live for but the pleasures of today?

But what if there is?

Of course, Paul knew that there is a life to come.

What in the world does this have to do with money? Quite a bit.

The Faith/Finances Connection

Money isn’t the only area of our life influenced by our spiritual beliefs, but what we believe spiritually has the single greatest influence on our use of money.

If we believe this life is all there is, then it’s especially easy to get stuck on what psychologists call the hedonic treadmill, always reaching for something more in our pursuit of happiness, and then discovering when we get it that we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

Even if we believe in heaven, the degree to which that belief is more head knowledge than heartfelt can leave us running on the same treadmill, overspending in our pursuit of happiness.

Eternal Economics

What if we lived with an unwavering belief in a life beyond this one? What if we had complete confidence that we will one day experience that life? And what if we were absolutely convinced that the life to come will far exceed the joy we have experienced during our absolute best moments in this life?

Wouldn’t we do the whole money thing differently?

Wouldn’t we be more content with what we have and less discouraged over what we don’t have? Wouldn’t we be less anxious to have today what we can’t afford? Wouldn’t we live with more patience?

Be Transformed

The verse that keeps coming to mind as I wrestle with these ideas is Romans 12:2.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Our culture is relentless in its promotion of a buy-now-and-you’ll-be-happy world that only leaves us chronically disappointed and weighed down by debt.

I’m far from perfect at this, but I firmly believe that if we would stop looking to the things of this world to deliver the meaning and happiness they’re incapable of delivering, we would actually enjoy them more. If we saw them for what they are—good gifts from our loving God, but not the basis of our identity, self-worth, or ultimate happiness—our finances would improve, and so would our joy.

It isn’t easy. In fact, it isn’t even possible through our own efforts. But it is possible through the transforming power of our relationship with Christ.

How has your belief about heaven impacted your use of money?

If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to this blog.  Twice a week, you’ll receive ideas and encouragement for using money well.

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2 Responses to What If…

  1. Lanette Henderson July 13, 2022 at 12:47 AM #

    I keep all your emails. Some i read right away and save, some i save to read, others i keep until Jesus comes because they are helpful in my life today. He will come any day. I have been with you for a really long time. Your wisdom gave me what i needed to get out of deep debt and your prayers gave me peace during the days of hard saving and paying. God is good to give us help like you. Thank you Matt.

    • Matt Bell July 13, 2022 at 9:36 AM #

      How wonderful to hear all of this, Lanette. Thank you for taking the time to write. God is good, indeed! May He continue to bless you on your journey.

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