This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin teaches that money is spiritual. Really that argument is not all that different from what is taught by economists. Money only has value because a large number of people believe it has value. Ultimately a Swiss Franc or a Zimbabwe Dollar are both pretty pieces of paper backed by nothing more than the faith of the people who choose to hold them in their hand. Most of my money is even more ethereal than that. It exists as series of little electronic blips on a piece of magnetic media sitting out there in the cloud.
You can choose to believe money is spiritual, spiritual energy, the idol of your faith, or something that is merely symbolic of a deeper truth, the truth of your life. No matter what you choose to believe about the nature of money, how you earn money, how you view it, and what you choose to do with it once it comes into your hands are all deeply spiritual questions.
Maybe the beginning of a new year is a good time to return to the foundation of the Silver Eagle Experiment, a challenge to allow God to change the way we view money. What if we began each day with a prayer, asking the Lord of the universe who owns all the silver and all the gold, how we can use his abundance wisely? What if we were to ask how we can be a blessing to others?
I have a parking lot ding on my newer car. It isn’t something that really needs to be repaired, but it is just enough to be annoying. I may get it repaired—or not. Yesterday, while getting my hair cut, I asked my barber for a referral. He recommended one of the three body shops in town. He told me he hears that mechanic does some pretty good work. That means there are people out there putting words of blessing on someone because he has been a blessing in their lives. It seems to me that something spiritual is at work here that will ultimately result in more money coming into that particular body shop even if I decide the ding is not worth the cost of a repair.
Are more overtly spiritual vocations really all that different? If a pastor has 200 adult members attending a meeting that will run ninety minutes and those members earn an average of $25.00 per hour, that congregation has already given their church $7,500 before the first dime hits the collection plate. If the time necessary to get a family from the breakfast table to the Church until the family is eating lunch is counted, that number might be more like $15,000.
In a place like Washington DC where 50 hours or more is an average work week and the commute time runs about ninety minutes a day, Sunday morning time is probably worth more to the citizens of that area than they receive from their employer.
What if a pastor included that calculus in his prayers of thanksgiving and supplication?
What if you asked God how you could be a greater blessing to your employer or to your neighbors? Could persistence and patience in prayer and diligence in work result in both spiritual and material blessings?
What if this blogger asked for guidance on how to better bless those who have blessed me with the time and energy required to read these posts?
Whether or not you choose to view money as spiritual or as something else, treat it as though it was spiritual, because (unless you are hermit living in a cave) you certainly cannot separate your spiritual walk from your relationship with money.
Happy New Year! May you be blessed in the year of our Lord, 2015.