John Bradshaw - The Love of Money
John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today. This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. If you were to rate some of the most curious texts in the Bible, if you were to make a list of odd or challenging or head-scratching texts, this verse would likely be at the top of many lists. It's because the Bible says a lot about money. A lot. And yet, writing to the young church leader Timothy, Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 6 and verse 10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows". Now, we pray for money. We talk about money. We thank God for money. We consider money to be a great blessing, but here is a great warning concerning something that we all need. My guest today is international speaker and author, Australian Julian Archer. Julian, welcome to It Is Written.
Julian Archer: Thank you, John.
John Bradshaw: What do you make of this verse? In some Bibles, it's written in even more plain language. "The love of money," as one Bible says, "is the root of all evil". What do you think Paul was getting at there? Why did he say that to Timothy?
Julian Archer: Yeah, I think the, the, the facts of what Paul is saying is that if you trace any evil back to its roots, there's usually someone trying to make a dollar out of it.
John Bradshaw: Follow the money, right? That's a phrase we use all the time.
Julian Archer: Follow the money. Follow it back.
John Bradshaw: I was, I was in a, in another country just a few days ago asking about a certain thing that was taking place in their country. The person smiled, and in answer to my question simply said, "Follow the money". Ah, so that's why. That's right; there's often a financial motive behind what's going on.
Julian Archer: Mm, absolutely, yeah, and, look, in my personal life, I have also seen the second half of the text come true where it says that many "have strayed from the faith" because of this love of money, this greediness, as well, and "pierced themselves through with many sorrows".
John Bradshaw: In the past you've been very successful in business.
Julian Archer: Yeah, we've been really blessed in some businesses that we've run in Australia.
John Bradshaw: But...that silver lining carried with it a pretty dark cloud. How did that manifest itself in your experience?
Julian Archer: Yeah, they, the blessings poured in. The windows of heaven were opened up, and more than we could receive, you know, very biblical. But I then began to worship the blessings. I began to worship the gifts instead of the Giver of the gifts, and that's where I messed up, and so those blessings actually became a curse in my life.
John Bradshaw: So tell me how you did that? How did, how did, give me just an example. Don't give away too much. Give me an example of how, how someone looking on, or how you, from your vantage point, said, "This is me. I'm worshiping the gifts rather than the Giver".
Julian Archer: Yeah, I think, from someone looking on, they probably wouldn't have seen it. We're, we're pretty good at wearing masks. And, uh, however, for me, I saw that as the blessings started coming in and grew and grew and grew, that they were taking my time and my attention. If you had looked at my calendar and my bank statements, you would have seen more and more of my time and energy and focus being on my stuff than on God, and that was subtle, very subtle. It just came over time. But in my heart, I could see it happening, and that's where I said, "Hey, I've gotta do something about this".
John Bradshaw: Now, I notice, and it's been said many times that money is the root of all evil. That's an incorrect statement. Paul said "the love of money".
Julian Archer: Absolutely.
John Bradshaw: Were you aware, or how did you become aware that you loved money, as it were?
Julian Archer: Hm. Yeah, money is an interesting thing. You know, some people will say it's like fire, that it can be used to do good or it can be used to do evil. You know, they say it's neutral. And I agree from that point of view. But having experienced money and having had this bit of a relationship, this bit of a, you know, uh, too close relationship with money for a, for a while... Money's got claws. There's something about money that the more of it that you have, the more of it that you want. It's just, you know, we all think, "Well, if I had double the income that I have now, I'd be happy". But, you just want more and more and more. And I started to see this in my life. I thought, "Julian, you fool, three years ago you were earning 1/4 of what you're earning now, and you still want more". You know, if I had been told, "Well, in three years' time you're gonna have multiples of what you're currently earning," I would have gone, "Well, I'll be happy then. I'll be satisfied then". But the reality is that, no, you want more. You want more. Money has claws, and it says, "Come, come. Get more of me". And that's what I noticed in my life, just this crazy dissatisfaction with no matter how much I had.
John Bradshaw: Now, you've written about this. You wrote a book with an interesting title, "Help! I've Been Blessed"! Are you saying money is bad? Are you saying that, uh, money is bad for a person?
Julian Archer: No. No. I'm saying it can have very bad impacts on a person, if they're not careful.
John Bradshaw: Okay, so you're okay with wealth?
Julian Archer: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: You're not pointing the finger at rich people?
Julian Archer: No.
John Bradshaw: All right.
Julian Archer: No. I'm, I'm just saying that it's a, as a rich Christian who, if you, if you have a real passion for maintaining a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, then money is something that Satan will often use to try and distract you and drag you off to one side.
John Bradshaw: It's a bit like food, isn't it? You gotta have food to live, but it's easy to abuse food so that it becomes bad for your body. I don't know anyone who can get through life without money altogether. You've gotta have it.
Julian Archer: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: How do we live in this world without taking onboard the love of money? We've gotta have it. In fact, we've gotta have significant amounts of it, particularly at certain times of our life. So let's take this time to share with people how they can safeguard themselves against developing the love of money or the love of stuff. We've gotta raise children in this world. We gotta have successful families in this world. And we wanna get out of this world and into heaven without our possessions or our lust after more stuff dragging us down. Take us through this.
Julian Archer: Yeah, I think it was the evangelist Billy Sunday who said that many a man will "slip into hell with his hand on the door-knob of heaven". You know, it's so close, so close, but not quite, and... it's a precarious place to be, and, and one of the things that will hold that man down, or could hold any of us down, is this materialistic culture which we and our families, our children are involved in. It's a daily thing. It's daily. It's daily for us as individual; it's daily for us as parents; it's daily for our children; it's, it's daily for everybody. We must choose every day to have Jesus as the number one in our life. Not the goal of our next pay raise, not the big sale of, or contract that's just going through, not doubling our, our net worth, not trying to get onto the Forbes 500 list or, or whatever. Our focus has to be Jesus Christ. And we need to do everything that we can to maintain that relationship.
John Bradshaw: I don't think I've ever meet a Christian who's ever said, "I just wanna be filthy rich," without having then said, "because I wanna give money to God". Many, many Christians who are wealthy do give money to God, and we thank God for that, and, and without that kind of generosity, I think the work of the church in many ways around the world simply wouldn't be where it is today. But do you think that can be a bit of a, a self-deceiving thing when people say, "Well, if I was rich, I'd just do this and that and the other". Can that be a trap?
Julian Archer: It can, very much so, and if there's one thing that I've learned, yeah, in this process, um, it's that if you're not giving to God when you're not earning much, you won't be giving to God when you've got a lot. All that, riches just magnify your character, so if you're generous with next to nothing, you'll be generous with billions. But if you're tight with next to nothing, you'll be tight with billions. It just magnifies our character.
John Bradshaw: So how does a person develop this habit of generosity? Where do you start with that?
Julian Archer: Yeah. It, it comes, Martin Luther, great guy, he said there's three conversions. So, so from a Christian perspective, we have three conversions: You're converted in your head, in your heart, and in your wallet. They can happen at all different times, but the interesting thing is that if a person is converted in their heart, their wallet comes with it. So, you, you can't just say, "Well, I think I'm going to become more generous, uh, so next week I'm going to give $50 instead of $20, like I did last week, and, and if I do that, it'll help me to become more generous". Well, you can, but it's sort of a, it's a, it's a real battle, you know. The Bible says that "God loves a cheerful giver". To become a cheerful giver, we have to have the heart conversion. When we have that heart conversion, we, we look at what Jesus has done for us. He's done so much for us. We just want to give. We wanna give our time, our talents, our treasures. We wanna, we wanna give because that's what Jesus did for us. So, I would encourage people to look to, look for that heart conversion, look to that daily relationship with Christ, and then the giving will come easy.
John Bradshaw: I've had people ask me many times about tithing, "Should I tithe? And if I tithe, should I tithe on the gross and the net"? and so forth. How important is tithing, giving a tenth of your increase to God, in this process?
Julian Archer: Hm. Very important, very important. And whether it's gross or net, I would just say, "How do you want your blessings"?
John Bradshaw: That's right.
Julian Archer: So it's, but yeah, like, for example, with young people, they say to me, a young guy asked me the other day; he said, "I've just graduated from university. I'm going to get my first paycheck. Tell me, what should I do with it"? And so I shared with him the rule of tens, where I said, "Your first 10 percent goes to God. That's your tithe; you're returning 10 percent to God. It's an acknowledgement of who He is and the fact that He owns all of it. The second 10 percent goes to offerings or to others. It's helping people in need. The third 10 percent goes into savings". So that could be going towards his house deposit or, or something for the future or just some savings. And then the other 70 percent is cost of living. Uh, so the rule of tens: 10, 10, 10, 10 for God, 10 for others, 10 for your savings. It's a Jewish principle. They're doing okay. They've been doing it for about 3,000 years. I teach it to my children. We pass it on from generation to generation. So, yes, tithing is an, as I read the Bible, an essential thing.
John Bradshaw: Now, you said you've taught this to your, to your kids?
Julian Archer: Mm.
John Bradshaw: How did they take to it? And now, as they look back over the way mom and dad have taught them over the years, are they convinced, or do they say, "Boy, if I could have some of those 10 percents back, I could have more stuff"?
Julian Archer: Yeah. They'll go, interesting timing. About, my, my oldest son has just started university. So he's sort of out there on his own somewhat, financially, living away from home, and he's struggling, financially. He's looking for a job. He's not getting money from the government. We're sort of feeding him a little bit just to, to keep him afloat, you know. But he doesn't have very much at all. And the other day I was talking to him about this, and I was saying, "Well, what are you spending your money on"? And we were just going through a few, a little budgeting advice, you know, going through things. And I could see that he had just paid over 1/3 of his current net worth, his current bank account, to tithe. He had just paid that into tithe. And I was like, "Good on you, man". You know, just, that's it. Put, put it out there, you know. And so those principles, I believe, are getting through. They've still got a lifetime ahead of them. I'm new in the game with parenting, but, but, you know, it's, it's an important thing, and I know that God will bless.
John Bradshaw: I've heard of people who give to God so that God will bless, "If I give this, then God will give me more money". Do you consider that an appropriate way of looking at God's blessings?
Julian Archer: Malachi chapter 3 has a, a, like a covenant, like almost a legal contract from God's point of view to us, and He says, "If you return the whole tithe and bring all the offerings to me", honestly, "then I will open up the windows of heaven and, and pour out more blessings than you can hold". So, yes, in principle, I agree with that. However, God has ways of blessing us that aren't dollars and cents. So, we might pay our tithe or give our offerings in dollars and cents, but that doesn't mean that God is necessarily gonna make us millionaires next year. It means that He will bless us. And so that could be with health. It could be with happy family relationships. It could be that old car just that keeps on going. There's a whole lot of different ways that God can bless us other than giving us a pay raise. So, no, I don't think, if I put $100 in the offering this week, then I can expect a pay raise by Tuesday. But I can expect peace in my heart that I am doing what God has asked me to do.
John Bradshaw: And if we do, right? If we give so that we'll get... that's just a form of, of legalism. We're just buying God off, and we're surely breaking the tenth commandment, which says, "Thou shalt not covet". Shouldn't we just be giving out of a heart filled with love and then leave it with God to bless us however He wants to bless us?
Julian Archer: Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.
John Bradshaw: And He will bless us, won't He?
Julian Archer: Yes.
John Bradshaw: Do you know of any people who've decided, "Well, I'll be faithful, and I'll tithe, and I'll give offerings," who have not been blessed? I don't know anybody like that.
Julian Archer: No.
John Bradshaw: You haven't come past...
Julian Archer: No, and even King David in the Bible, he says, "I once was young, and now I am old, and I've never seen the children of God begging for bread," or, you know, he has a number of other things he says in there. Um, and that's my experience, too. God will care for His faithful people.
John Bradshaw: That's the promise of God. We've got it right here, chapter and verse, in the Bible. There's no doubt about it. God has promised to bless those who are faithful to Him. The love of money, we'll talk more about it in just a moment.
John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. My guest is Julian Archer, an international speaker and an author, and I don't know if you use the term, but I'd say an expert now in the field of finance and the battle that rages in many lives between faith and finance, between wealth and spirituality or relationship with God. Now, word is that you are a member of a very elite club, a member of the global "one percent" club. Tell me more about this.
Julian Archer: Yeah, so the "one percent" club, uh, identifies the wealthiest one percent of adults in the world.
John Bradshaw: And you're one of them.
Julian Archer: I am. I am, and so I guess you could say that it's an elite club.
John Bradshaw: Sure.
Julian Archer: Uh, if you look at the United Nations data from the World Distribution of Household Wealth Report, they put this thing out every year, and they look at how is money distributed around the world. And, of course, in the media, we've had these things like Occupy Wall Street, you know, where they've gone in there, and they've, they've camped at Wall Street saying there's too much inequality between the rich and the poor and, you know, all this sort of thing. And so, it's a, it's a real, a real thing. And as a member of the "one percent" club, I'm like, "Well, how do I deal with this"? You know, I'm richer than 99 percent of adults on earth. But it's interesting, when you study the United Nations data, that, if you have a net worth, that is, get the value of your assets, total assets, minus the value of your total liabilities, that, what's left is your net worth. If your net worth is $3,000 or more, you're richer than 50 percent of adults on the planet.
John Bradshaw: So I'm in the 50 percent club.
Julian Archer: So you're in the 50 percent club? Okay, you won't have to keep admitting as we go higher, but anyway... so the 50 percent club, if you have a net worth of $90,000, then you're actually in the 10 percent club. So you're richer than 90 percent of adults on earth.
John Bradshaw: What does it take to be in that "one percent" club?
Julian Archer: Mmm. My, my first, my, my gut reaction would have been, oh, maybe 5 million, 10 million...
John Bradshaw: Gotta be a lot of money.
Julian Archer: Yeah, it's gotta be a lot of money; that's right. Um, but it was quite interesting when I, when I did the research, that all it takes to be a member of the elite, as we call it, "one percent" club, is a net worth of $750,000. Not even $1 million. You don't have to be a millionaire to be richer than 99 percent of adults on the planet, that's not to mention all the children. So, when we, when we come to God's Word, and we see passages speaking to the rich, or we see Jesus talking to the rich, I used to always think that that was for the super-rich.
John Bradshaw: The really rich.
Julian Archer: The really, really rich. But then I thought, "You know what, if I'm richer than 99 percent of adults on earth, that's probably talking to me". And it made me see God's Word through new eyes, uh, and made me realize that, "Hey, Julian, you've been really blessed. What are you going to do about it"?
John Bradshaw: The statistics say it's true for people; the numbers say it's true for countries: As wealth increases, religion decreases. Now, that's true for Christianity. Is that true for other faith groups as well?
Julian Archer: It is, absolutely. Hinduism, Muslims, Buddhism, the whole lot. I, I talk to leaders of these religions around the world, and when I ask them this question, if I say, "What is the greatest thing that is taking your young people, your young families, away from their faith, regardless of religion? What is it that's taking them away? Is it they're becoming Christians"? "No". "Is it they're converting to another religion"? "No". "What is it"? "Materialism". Our young people, our young families, are being converted from Christianity, whatever it is, to materialism, by the droves. They're just, materialism is having an incredible impact on the faith of many people today. And it's not just the young people, but that's an area that we see it a lot.
John Bradshaw: Okay, so we gotta raise kids in this world where there's stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere. You can go to stores now that have thousands and thousands of products available, and everything about society is telling you, "You deserve it; you want it; you have it; you can get it. No money down, use this credit card". So it's easier and easier and easier to have stuff. I, I like the cover, uh, illustration on your book, "Help! I've Been Blessed"! Here's somebody with money, uh, I mean, everything, everything that a person could want. How do we navigate this maze? We gotta get our families to heaven, we wanna get our children to heaven, yet all of us are coming up in this morass of materialism. What do we do?
Julian Archer: The circumstances in which a child is raised will often have a greater impact on them than even the example of the parents. So... we would like to just keep raising our children in an affluent environment, but take them on mission trips, yeah, fly them in and out a few times a year and help them to build a church or whatever, and we think that that's going to do it. It will help. No question, it will help. But ultimately the environment in which they are raised will have a greater impact on them even than your own example as parents, so we need to get around this somehow. And one of the things that I believe we need to do is we need to simplify. We need to simplify. For our own spiritual lives, we need to reduce our assets and responsibilities, uh, so that we have more time, more energy, and are able to more clearly focus on our relationship with God. That will also assist our children, uh, by them seeing that, that happening, that, hey, Mum and Dad really take this Christianity seriously; like, they're actually trying to follow Jesus. Wow! Really? And that will have an incredible impact on them and their choices that they make as they go through life. If we go through just income increases, lifestyle increases, income increases, lifestyle increases, the kids will see that, they're not, they're not fools, and they'll wanna do the same thing. My belief is that God blesses us beyond our needs so that we can increase our standard of giving, not our standard of living. And if we can show that to the next generation, that as our blessings went up, we actually gave more, rather than just having fancier and fancier holidays, nicer and nicer cars and homes, then that will be an absolutely key, uh, transference from our generation to theirs in the right direction.
John Bradshaw: Okay, what are you advocating? Uh, what I mean is this: There was a time you did very well, earned a lot of money; businesses were very successful. You did not take a vow of poverty. You didn't sell everything, and you're now trying to live on $10 a week, that's not what you did. So you dialed it back, right?
Julian Archer: Mm.
John Bradshaw: You didn't walk away. You dialed it back...
Julian Archer: Yep.
John Bradshaw: ...to the level that you felt like God was leading your family.
Julian Archer: Mm.
John Bradshaw: How does a person do that? Uh, they're saying, "Now, well, how do we get to this spiritual place so that we're not being owned by our stuff, we're not being led around by the love of money"? How does a person find that sweet spot? You found it.
Julian Archer: Yup.
John Bradshaw: How does someone find it? It's gotta differ from person to person. How does a person find it?
Julian Archer: Because ultimately what you're looking for is peace, in your relationship with God, you're looking for peace. You're looking for, for example, we used to go on family skiing holidays. We would spend $10,000 in a week on a, on a ski holiday for the four of us. We'd stay in the nice places, you know, we did it well. Uh...but then we realized, you know what, God's probably got better uses for His money than spending 10 grand on us to go skiing for a week. And so we dialed it back. Now, one word of advice here: If you are married, dial it back together. Okay? Don't, don't just do as I did in this particular instance. My wife, Melinda, she had never skied, and then one winter she finally started skiing, and she loved it. Well, that happened to coincide with the winter, the last winter, that I was prepared to spend $10,000 on a ski holiday. So as winter was approaching the next year, I announced to the family, as the spiritual head of the home, "We're not skiing this year because it's not right. It's not right to spend $10,000 a week".
John Bradshaw: And Melinda had been looking forward to this for months?
Julian Archer: Well, exactly, yeah, because she had been, this was her first experience skiing, and she just loved it. And she's like, "No way! What"? So, yeah, word of advice: Do it together. If you're going to dial things back...
John Bradshaw: Amen.
Julian Archer: ...do it together.
John Bradshaw: All right.
Julian Archer: And, uh, and then, yeah, just start looking at things in your life. Just saying, "God, would You really want me to do this with Your, Your money"? Uh, you know, the, the question, "Is what I'm living for what Jesus died for? Did Jesus die for the things that I'm living for"? And identify a few of those things where your answer is, "No, these are actually just things that I wanted to do, and they've got nothing to do with what Jesus came here to do". Uh, and start to dial them back. As a couple, as a family, depending on the situation that you're in, start simplifying, simplifying, and, and just feel that peace coming in.
John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me. This has been great. I wanna give you an opportunity, just reduce it to a sound bite, a parting shot. Someone who's saying, "You know, I've been guilty of this, the love of money. I don't want to be. I'm making a change". Go ahead.
Julian Archer: Yeah, look, in its simplest form, as your blessings go up, your knees must go down on the floor. We've gotta pray more. We've gotta, we've gotta go to God and say, "God, thank You for the blessings," 'cause the blessings should lead, lead to prayer and thanksgiving. But when we are there with prayer and thanksgiving, we will start to understand more about humble sacrificial generosity, and God will then teach us how to give and how to live for Him, not for us.
John Bradshaw: Julian Archer, thank you. Greatly appreciate it.
Julian Archer: It's been a blessing to be here, thank you.
John Bradshaw: Julian, thanks again. I really appreciate you taking your time. Thanks.
Julian Archer: Thank you.
John Bradshaw: Let's pray together now. Let's pray. Our Father in heaven, O Lord, you've gotta keep us from the love of money. Uh, we need money. We are grateful for it. We thank You for what You give us. I suspect there are some people who are saying to themselves, "If only I had money to love". And I want to pray that You'll be especially close to people who are struggling, battling, seeking their way forward. Maybe they're not quite sure where the next meal or the next rent payment is coming from. The Bible says, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus". Lord, let that be so. Then, Lord, there are so many people now caught up in the blessings more than they are in the person of the Giver. So let our focus be in the right place so that Your financial blessings can do the work You designed them to do. We thank You and love You. Let our priorities, our expenditures, our investments, our possessions reflect that love more and more. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm looking forward to seeing you again next time. Until then, remember: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"