The love of money is the root of all evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. - 1 Timothy 6:10
Here’s a remarkable statistic: 54% of married people don’t know how much money their spouse makes. No wonder money is such a huge factor in marital conflict and divorce, if half of us can’t be transparent about it, even with the person whose life and bed we share.
Here’s another statistic: 97% of people don’t know where all their money goes. Ok, I made that one up. But I am willing to bet that if each of us took a month to write down every cent we spent, the vast majority of us would be pretty surprised about how the results shake out.
Money is a deeply spiritual issue because it has tremendous power over our psyches and well-being: how much or little we have, how much we hoard, spend, save, or accumulate in debt. The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil. But fear, shame and secrecy about money do the work of evil just as much as our love of it.
Church people often tell me that money is a private matter, but what they really practice with money is secrecy, not privacy. Privacy means: the people who need the information have it. But secrecy is: one or more people carry a burden they can’t set down nor relieve one another of.
This Lent, lay down the burden of a money shame or fear, and lay bare a money secret: to your spouse, your pastor, or a friend. Let that laying-down pave the way to letting go of money itself, by committing yourself to more generous and openhanded living, which (statistically speaking) will make you happier and healthier (look it up!).
God, help me lighten my own and others’ loads by living more transparently in regard to money, and giving more generously. Amen.
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of First Congregational Church UCC in Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church, Standing Naked Before God, and her newest baby, Bless This Mess: A Modern Guide to Faith and Parenting in a Chaotic World.