For Love of Dogs and Money
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
My daughter teases my wife and I about loving our dog. We say that we don’t love him and honestly, neither of us feel a tremendous emotional attachment to him. Yet, our kids see that we take him for swims and walks, chase him around the house, scratch him behind the ears, and generally take care of him. He’s a good dog, but still, he’s the kid’s dog and my wife and I just don’t feel a grand emotional connection with him. Yet, from the kids perspective, and probably the dog’s, we behave in such a way that it looks like we love him.
There certainly is an emotional component to love, but my point is, love isn’t just an emotion. It’s also an action. I can feel as though I have tremendous love for my wife. I can even say it often. If, however, my love is expressed only in words but never in deeds, then my wife won’t feel loved. If I tell her I love her, but I spend all my time at work or with my friends, it will not, from her perspective, appear that I love her.
Today’s passage tells us to keep our lives free from the love of money. Few of us would feel like we have a huge emotional attachment to money, so the temptation would be to dismiss the passage – This doesn’t apply to me. I don’t love money.
What would those around us say though? We may not be aware of the feeling, but do our actions reveal that we love money? If our commitment to work causes us to neglect our families, then we may have a problem. If we spend more time worrying about our wealth than we do praying for our kids, then we might have a problem. When we make any deal, if we find pleasure in taking advantage of the other party, then we might have a problem. We may not feel emotional about money, but if it controls our behavior, then our actions will betray our love.
The opposite may be true as well. In finding new life in God, we can abandon love of money. We can live generously, giving to those in need around us. We can be content with what we have. We can enjoy our work, doing it for God, and we can even enjoy our paycheck. It’s not wrong to have money. It is in putting money above all that we declare our love for it – making ourselves miserable in the process.