Saturday, August 13, 2011

Money and Sobriety

Not all drunkenness comes from overindulgence in substances (drugs, alcohol). Everyone has heard the term “drunk with power”, but there are many other ways to lose our sobriety as well.

The dictionary defines sober this way:

“marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor: unhurried, calm: marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness: subdued in tone or color: showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice”

In our culture one of the most insidious addictions is the craving for money and the pursuit of “more”. The resulting fallout is the root of a lot of pain and the break-up of marriages, businesses and friendships.

A drunk does not make good decisions. Actions are not well thought out. They do not adequately consider others’ feelings or see the “big picture”, but rather live for the moment.  

I am not just talking about the obvious results of spending addictions (stuff-lust), but also the loss of relationship that comes when money and the pursuit of it becomes an all-consuming idol.

Why do I call it an idol? It is because we are constantly making sacrifices to it. I sacrifice time with my family and friends. I sacrifice my need for sleep. I sacrifice recreation time. I may sacrifice my integrity through compromise. And I sacrifice my time spent with God.

I think it is also possible to sacrifice our Christian worldview.
Matthew 16:26 (NLT) And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
I wonder how many well-intentioned parents have spent huge amounts of money to send their children to secular universities only to have them return as atheists and skeptics. The intended purpose was to prepare their sons and daughters to succeed in life financially (to have more). And so education also becomes an idol with its attendant sacrifices.

Sociologists have claimed that we have created a generation of narcissists, drunk with entitlement, many of whom cannot do much of anything useful, but believe they deserve everything. When everything does not come, they may become angry or depressed.

How can we correct this?

It is not easy. We must very thoughtfully consider whether our behavior is consistent with our values. We must become restrained in our pursuit of more. We must consider what we are modeling for our children. And yes, we must have a budget and make our wants obedient to it.   

And more importantly we must consider whether our values are consistent with God’s values and a Christian life.


  1. Great Post! I never thought about the connection of money and any type of sobriety. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I can really relate to everything said. Thank you so much for your posts!!!

  2. Love that 4th last paragraph. Thanks for your faithful writing.