Little Green Monster
Published: April 28, 2009
Most of us stopped believing in monsters by the time we were out of elementary school. With our parents’ reassurance and a quick glance with a flashlight, it was easy to dismiss the notion that a monster could be living under our bed…in our closet…or wherever it is monsters lurk.
However, it’s not so easy to rid ourselves of the one monster who follows us on to the paths of our adulthood. He emerges in many areas of our lives, affecting everything, including our pocketbooks. He’s subtle, unassuming and green.
The Little Green Monster. We make him sound harmless, even cute-like a stuffed animal a two-year-old would carry around. His effect on us on the other hand is nothing to play around with. And when accompanied by a materialistic tendency to “keep up with the Joneses,” the Bible uses an incredibly strong definition saying, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10, TNIV).
My first encounter with this unfriendly beast was after a company dinner several years ago. I realized how inadequate my wardrobe looked compared to my coworkers’. And as I waited for the valet to bring my car around, I realized how inadequate my little red Cavalier looked compared to a never-ending stream of BMWs, Lexuses and the occasional Mercedes.
A week later, I caved in and purchased an expensive convertible sports car-and the wardrobe to go with it. At just 20 years of age, I accumulated almost $40,000 in debt in a little over a year. The Little Green Monster had chased me, tackled me and bit me-hard.
What I expected was never-ending happiness, now that I had the perfect car and the perfect clothes. Instead, a flood of credit card bills inundated me. Not only was I running from the Little Green Monster, bill collectors were chasing after me too. And as I tried my hardest to beat them down the road, I never managed to escape them biting at my heels.
Eventually, the company I worked for imploded in the dot-com bust, and I lost my job. The co-workers I tried so desperately to impress scattered out to new jobs and new lives, never to be seen again.
My attempt to dazzle those around me was meaningless. Solomon, who had accumulated much more wealth than I ever have, also felt the same regret when he wrote, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, TNIV).
Managing money is difficult for most of us, regardless of the size of our paychecks. Yet we don’t always have to allow the Little Green Monster to run alongside us. In fact, the kryptonite that will KO our green enemy is a simple attitude called contentment.
In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (TNIV).
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