Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

My cousin has inherited a lot of money; but has become lazy. She always asks for ideas on how to spend it; for example, buying a house, traveling. But, she does not look for a job. How can I help her?

Although money is a gift from God and has an important role in our lives, it is a root cause of all the recent conflicts at the individual, family, and international levels. The Holy Bible has established basic principles on how to use money to promote human happiness, serve mankind, and not to turn money into a god.

What are these principles?

1. Money is a Gift
"God gives us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Tim 6:17). So whatever income we get, it is a real gift from God. If God had not given us life, we would not have received this money, and if he had not granted us scientific, professional, and artistic abilities, we would have been unable to achieve anything.

Therefore, the Holy Bible teaches us to talk to God when we are offering charity to a poor individual or to the church saying: "All things come from You, and of Your own we have given You" (1 Chron 29:14).
2. Money is Not Essential for Life
The Lord said: "One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Lk 12:15), and He also said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4). "For in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17: 28). Hence life - and health too - is a gift of God. All our efforts to live or to enjoy good health can fail, for whatever we spend or however far we travel to achieve these goals, life and health are  from Him. We strive within our limitations to have a good life, but we are sure that money cannot give it to us.
3. Money is Not Essential for Happiness
"Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife" (Prov 17:1). Happiness is a spiritual and psychological quality which comes from enjoying a living relationship with God: a soul at peace, a mind at rest, knowing God's forgiveness, and a genuine love for people whoever and whatever they may be. Hence, we ask: "Can we buy happiness with money?" It is impossible; for on the contrary, too much money has often caused unhappiness to its owners. The worry that comes from attempting at keeping, investing and using it, all for selfish purposes, robs people of true happiness which is only attainable through a sincere relationship with Christ.
4. Money is Transitory
St. Paul says: "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God" (1 Tim 6:17). That money is uncertain is a fact. It may come today and disappear  tomorrow. A man may make a fortune today and lose it that same day because of various reasons. That is why a man should not rely on it; so that he does not come crashing down.
5. Money is an investment
The Holy Bible commands those who are rich to "Do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come" (1 Tim 6:18,19). We should invest our money in bringing glory to God‘s name through helping our fellow Christians in their physical and spiritual need. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). The more we give, the more blessings we will have. "The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself" (Prov 11:25). The Lord has entrusted us with this money; so let us use it wisely and conscientiously. We take from it what we need and leave the rest to God to use as He sees fit, maybe to serve someone who is needy, or to meet an emergency.
6. Money Is Not to Be Depended Upon
To depend on money is to deny God. The Lord said: "How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mk 10:24), or as Job said: "If I had made gold my hope or said to fine gold 'You are my confidence' ... I would have denied God Who is above" (Job 31:24-28). The problem lies in considering money as a pillar in life and a support for the future. This doesn't mean that we should not save, for saving is different from depending on money. Saving means keeping the excess money aside and offering it to God to use as He wills, either for service or in an emergency.
7. Money is not to crave
"Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim 6:9-10). When God said: "No servant can serve two masters.... you cannot serve both God and mammon" (Lk 16:13), He meant that the love of money is opposed to the worship of God.
Help your cousin to plan how to take care of the money she has inherited. To God, should go: the 'first fruits', the tithes, and the vows. As mentioned earlier, money will not last. She will need education and a job to have a respectful position in society. While still enjoying  a new house and traveling; she must know and firmly believe that it is God, not money, who is essentially her sole supporter; for "He who trusts in his riches will fall" (Prov 11:28).
Home | Ask A Question | Search Q&A