Over the last four weeks I have shared a few of my favorite axioms. An axiom being a statement that is generally thought to be true and which most people believe.
To summarize, the previous three axioms were: “Be wary of the vacuum cleaner syndrome;” “Always walk toward the barking dog;” and, “There is no limit to the amount of good they’ll do with your money.”
Today’s axiom is another one you may have heard. I have no idea of the original source but it was told to me by one of my older friends. He said, “Tim, every problem that can be solved with money, is a small problem.”
Originally, I rebelled when I heard it. I thought to myself, “That’s easy for you to say, you have lots of money.” However, the more life experience I’ve obtained the more I believe he was right. If one begins with the premise that someone has at least enough money to meet the true necessities of life, such as food and shelter, most other issues that have dollar values attached to them pale in comparison to life’s ultimate cares.
Sixteen years ago at the height of Firestorm I encountered a family from our church in a Starbucks. I asked the question which during that month was much more than a formality.
I asked, “How are you doing?” They responded by telling me that at “the” meeting the next day they would learn whether they still had a home or whether it had burned. When I proceeded to express my care and concern for them they pushed back.
“Look,” they said. “Our family is all here. We’re together, we’re alive and we’re healthy. Whatever happened to the house doesn’t matter.”
For months as I toured across Canada speaking on lessons learned from the fire, I told their story. They had gained a higher perspective on what matters lots and what matters not so much.
No amount of money can buy love. No pile of cash can purchase health. Joy, contentment and peace have no dollar signs attached to them. Jesus of Nazareth put it this way one time. He said, “What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and forfeit your soul?”
As I gain a grain of wisdom with age I have begun asking myself with increasing frequency, “What things matter to me that have no connection to money and how am I keeping them in perspective?”
Each time I venture down that path it is a stark reminder to make substantive investments in growing the depth of my own soul and in growing the impact of my own relationships.
Put another way, Jesus of Nazareth also answered a challenge to identify life’s most important commandments by distilling them down to two. He said, “Love God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself.”
You might find it interesting to note, there is no cash required to meet either.
Tim Schroeder is pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna.