I can think of no better metaphor for financial wealth then the ring in the movie the Lord of the Rings. The ring signifies power and the heavy burden it places on the individual who holds the ring.I believe financial wealth is exactly the same. The more you have the heavier the burden on your soul.
Many religions are split on their idea of what is right and wrong when it comes to the subject of God and wealth. Many believe that God is a giving God and being financially wealthy is a blessing and available to everyone.
However others reject this idea often refer to Jesus’s famous statements “it is easier for a rich man to enter through the eye of a needle then through the gates of Heaven” or “you cannot be a slave to both god and money”.
The truth is while Jesus never sais that being rich is a sin, he does make it very clear that wealth leads or can lead to spiritual ruin.
Many books including the Tao de Ching preach a similar theme. Wealth by itself is not a sin, however what wealth or chasing wealth can do to our souls is the real issue.
When we work too hard for money or worry and obsess about money constantly we are putting money before God. We are not meant to place our faith in riches.
Our faith should be in God first.
Money can do much good
Money by itself is neither good nor bad it is just a tool. However the tool can be used for good, evil or somewhere in between (Neutral!). If it is used to support your own and your family’s needs, then money obviously has a good purpose. If you use your excess wealth to help the sick and poor or contribute to projects that elevate humanity then money is indeed worthwhile.
Money as energy
Money like energy, it is designed to flow freely. When we keep and spend all our money on ourselves we are limiting the flow or supply of energy that accompanies the money.
Much of the problems we are now seeing in the world is due to the unequal distribution of the money (energy) supply.
Greed and the rule of the ego
The issue of greed can stem from once again our pesky ego. The ego is all about feeling special and maintaining separation from everyone else. Monetary wealth can be used by the ego to fulfil these functions firstly by making the individual feel special for being wealthy. Secondly by allowing them to feel superior to individuals who do not have as much money.
The ego also operates on fear and lack, fear that there is not enough to go around, fear that if you do not make more money you will run out. This is how greed starts, you can never be satisfied with what you have as enough is never enough.
Wealth can lead to arrogance and pride!
From my experience a lot of wealthy individuals I have met display a higher degree of arrogance than someone who has less money. Part of this reason is what I call the small king (or queen) syndrome.
If I am wealthy I can afford to get my own way more often, and do what I want to do more often. This can lead to arrogance and pride.
When money becomes such a large focus then God is often pushed out of your life.
I once had a conversation with a very rich individual on the unfairness and inequality of wealth distribution. His attitude was that he worked hard for what he had and why should some “bum “deserve to get what he has.
Now this individual was a very nice, positive individual however his ego had taken him hostage. He even admitted that being wealthy had made him arrogant and he was trying hard to reduce this arrogance.
My argument is that while he definitely deserves to be rewarded for his efforts some individuals have misfortune or do not have the same opportunities or help that he has received. We have an obligation to share our excess wealth with those in need. What constitutes excess will be different for every individual. Guidance on this matter can only come from I believe communing with God.
Money can be a blessing or a curse, it is your intention and use of the money that determines your spiritual health.