Money isn’t Barometer for Success.

When I was younger, I was involved in a small business of by buying and selling I was able to generate a profit and have money in my pocket at the end of every week.

I well remember walking around with feelings of confidence and positive self-worth as a result of the money in my pocket. I felt good about myself.

One time I spent quite a bit of money from my capital. My feelings of confidence and self-worth were damaged as the cash dwindled away. I felt worse about myself. But was I really any different than when I had the money?

As I reflect on that time in my youth, I realize that I had already bought the world’s lie that my worth as a person had something to do with the amount of cash with me. Like so many people, I didn’t know the truth about money.

Money is not my self-worth

If I believe that my self-worth is related to the money I have, then my self-worth will vacillate depending on my income and net worth.  I will tend to feel that I’m of value only if I make a certain amount of income. Such false thinking is totally contrary to what the Scripture says about who we are in Christ and the ultimate source of our income.

We don’t need to look very far in the Bible to see how valuable we are in God’s view. In the very first chapter we see God, the Creator of the universe, considering man of such value and worth that He chose to create him in His own image and according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). And in Psalm 8:3-6 we read:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet.

In the New Testament, we see again that we are God’s workmanship,fashioned by Him (Ephesians 2:10). We also see the ultimate expression of our worth to Him in John 3:16: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

That means we’re each worth an incredible amount to God. Clearly, from God’s point of view our value has nothing to do with our net worth or the income we earn. Our merit has everything to do with who we are in Christ and what God says about us.

You and I have a choice. We can believe what God says or we can believe what the world says. God says that we are valuable whether we have much or little money.

If we want healthy marriages, we must learn to detach our self-worth from our money. This is especially true for husbands. Scripture tells us that we men need to love our wives as our own bodies (Ephesians 5:28). And if I’m going to love the way God intends, I need to embrace my worth as a beloved child of God. If I allow money to be a factor in my self-image, I run the risk of having my love and devotion to my spouse vacillate with my income. I can’t afford to take that risk if I want harmony in my marriage. Neither can you.

Success is not function of money!

God has equipped and called each of us to uniquely to fulfil His purposes. Therefore, God ultimately determines my income. My income isn’t so much a function of my success or failure as it is just one part of my God-appointed vocation.

I don’t want to discount that an excellent job on your part may cause you to earn more than someone else who doesn’t work as excellently or diligently in the same vocation. My caution to you is to be careful not to believe your ability is generating your income.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 is clear on this point:

 “Otherwise, you say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.” If you’re having difficulty accepting the idea that God is providentially in control of your income, consider these Scriptures:

  • “The rich and the poor have a common bond; the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2).
  • “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
  • “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).

Remember too that life is full of financial inequities, just as Solomon reminds us: “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).


The world tells us one sign of success is how much money we make. But it’s better to understand that we’re successful if we are making progress in accomplishing our goals. Money may be one result of our endeavors, but it should never be the standard in determining whether success has occurred. Interestingly, the words “prosperity” and “prosperous” have basically the same meaning as success. Joshua 1:8 says:

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success.

I’m only successful and prosperous to the extent that I’m being obedient and carefully doing all that God’s Word says to do. For example, I’m successful as I train and love my children (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:6-7), love my wife (Ephesians 5:28), and work hard (Colossians 3:23). Joshua 1:8 doesn’t guarantee or promise financial blessings if I do what God’s Word says. Rather, it frees me to realize that I can be successful and prosperous whether or not I have money.

Money is not the barometer! A successful person may or may not have money. A person with money may or may not be a success.

What is important:

Much of the stress in our marriages is a result of using money as a measuring stick to determine our level of success and how we are growing in life We need to change our standard of measuring success from money to what God’s Word says.

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

This quote is poignant – and in the case of Steve Jobs, almost prophetic. Steve Jobs was one of the wealthiest, but even that could not save him from pancreatic cancer, which claimed his life in 2011.

Steve Jobs had more money than just about anyone on earth – but in the end, his time was more precious – and cut short by his illness. This just goes to show that money isn’t insurance against pain, suffering, or death – so if you focus on money over everything else, you’re just wasting your time.

Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference. – Barack Obama

This quote may surprise you – didn’t we just say that money wasn’t a solution to your problems? Well, it’s not – but that doesn’t mean that money is unimportant.

You see, money can’t provide happiness in and of itself – but it can help you live a happy life. Having enough money to get buy, to buy a few luxuries, and to be financially secure is certainly important to a happy life!

The problem begins when you focus on money only for its own sake. Money should always be seen as a means to happiness – never as the “be-all-end-all” of your happiness.

This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy. – Alice Walker

This quote illustrates the logical conclusion of choosing money over everything else. People today are so blinded by greed that they can’t even understand the negative effects their pursuit of wealth has on the rest of the world.

I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave. – Joseph Campbell





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