George Herbert: "The Church-porch"
Day 14: Morning
|Be thriftie, but not covetous: therefore give
Thy need, thine honour, and thy friend his due.
Never was scraper brave man. Get to live;
Then live, and use it: els, it is not true
That thou hast gotten. Surely use alone
Makes money not a contemptible stone.
Be economical, but not greedy: therefore,
give your need, your honor and your friend his due. Never was a money grabber
a courageous man. Get to live; then live and use it: otherwise, it is not
true that you have gotten it. Surely use alone makes money not a contemptible
Money is just brass, printed paper, a plastic card, a string of magnetic electrons. It is not even gold or silver any more. It is a substitute for true value, a hypothesis of something that is potentially meaningful. It has extrinsic value that is imposed by governmental law and social convention. It is only valuable for what it can do; this is the responsibility of money. Save, but pay your obligations. Do not neglect your needs to live. Satisfy your honor of all debts. Give due compensation to your friend. Do not be covetous, keeping for yourself what others may need. Be a brave person, paying his debts and doing what is necessary for his honor and friends. Money is a tool. The concern is that it easily becomes everybody's security blanket. Use it, and make it worth something. Acquire money to live, then live by using it. How you use it makes it worth more than metal and paper. Money has no value in itself, but what you do with it can give it meaning and importance by investing it with true, even moral, value.
Some have said that money is the root of all evil, but it is the root of some good. Money, as with all tools, is neither good nor bad, but using makes it so.
Theologian Note: All you Calvinists, Capitalists and Puritans may not be happy with this approach.
To be accurate it is not "money" but "the love of money," but many quote the phrase as "money is the root . . ."
© 1997 J. R. Arner
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