Money is of significant importance to every one of us. Some writers live on the revenue generated by their efforts. We represent a number of clients who are the main breadwinners in their families.
It is unfortunate that the role of the agent is regularly defined by the size of the deal. The film Jerry Maguire made the slick, money-centered agent into a cliche with his client shouting, “Show me the money!” Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe the “labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7, KJV). You and I earn our wages. There is no entitlement or handout. If I represent a weak project, it won’t sell; and I won’t be paid. If you write a weak project, it won’t sell either.
The problem comes when money, usually a lack thereof, becomes a distraction. I remember talking to an author years ago who would live off advances and royalty checks as if they were a weekly salary. Once the bank was empty, the author would go to the publisher and beg to borrow against future earnings. This yo-yo financial state created enormous pressure on the ability of that writer to create new material.
While that is an extreme example, it is illustrative of the dangers of mismanaging money. But what about those who are driven by the need for bigger deals or even a new deal, citing money as the catalyst of their anxiety?
I came across a convicting list titled “Signs That I Love Money” from Alistair Begg in his message “Restructuring Our Finances.”
Signs that I love money:
(1) When money thoughts consume my day
(2) When the blessings of others make me jealous
(3) When success is defined by what I have vs. what I am in Jesus Christ
(4) When my family is neglected in my pursuit of money
(5) When I close my eyes to the genuine needs of others
(6) When I live in paralyzing fear of losing my money
(7) When I am prepared to borrow myself into bondage
(8) When I give to God my leftovers, rather than my first-fruits
Ouch. I wish I had not read that, for I am guilty. Instead, I should endeavor to turn that around and redeem the problem by being thankful. And what a perfect week to be thinking about that.
As we move into the season of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks. Thanks for the provisions we do enjoy. For the roof over our heads and the food on our plates. For the freedoms we enjoy and our Lord who will provide (Jehovah Jireh).
In October 1863, in the midst of a horrific Civil War and only a few months after the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed these words:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
I cannot afford insurance,
had to care for self instead,
and have thus found, with some assurance,
that had I wealth, I would be dead.
I had to fight each living day,
I had to learn my enemy,
but if perchance I might just pay
someone to do this work for me
I would have ended drugged and slack,
petitioner to human grace;
persist in this, you can’t go back
to that harder, better place
where alone you pit your will
against that thing which aims to kill.
Great message and great quote. Thanksgiving and praise to God!
Steve, while reading your post, I was struck by two things: my own shortcomings in trusting my Heavenly Father, and the contrast between President Lincoln and our current leader. I need to pray (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
I echo your thoughts exactly, Bill!
This year, when offering the Thanksgiving blessing to my family, I will include a caution against “becoming too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace.”
Thank you for a great post, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Tim, you are right. In a nation that takes pride in pulling itself up by the bootstraps, we, individually and collectively, believe ourselves to be self-sufficient. We fail to recognize and give thanks to the source of all we have. We are like the ruler in Luke 18:18 who asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He (and perhaps we) failed to realize there is nothing “I” can do; only Christ could “do” anything – and He did it. If the ruler had listened to his own words, he would have understood that eternal life is inherited, not earned.” Redeeming and preserving grace” are indeed great cause for thanksgiving.
God knows what we need and when we need it and that includes conviction over sin, including jealousy. Yup, that was me today. Thank you for sharing Abraham Lincoln’s riveting words. I’ll read that this Thanksgiving.
Janet Lynn Pierce
Love the post, especially the words from President Abraham Lincoln. How far we have strayed and how much we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Thanks for the reminders, Mr. Laube. Just a note: I believe this is from Lincoln’s Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting and Prayer, not his Thanksgiving Proclamation… Here are links to both:
Proc 97 (fasting/prayer): https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-97-appointing-day-national-humiliation-fasting-and-prayer
Proc 118 (thanks): https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-118-thanksgiving-day-1864
and this one dated Oct 1863: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/transcript_for_abraham_lincoln_thanksgiving_proclamation_1863.pdf
Best to you ~ Kim
“In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path”
Kristen Joy Wilks
Sobering words, but also a beautiful reminder. May we be like the one leper of ten who saw the miracle at work upon himself and rushed back to thank the Lord!
I appreciate that the list applies whether one has a great deal of money or very little. The mindset of loving money (Mammon) entangles in both circumstances!
I also love Lincoln’s words establishing the Thanksgiving holiday as an unquestionably Christian event. Thanks for sharing.
The question always comes to me: Am I following God’s Will or seeking personal gain? Interesting how those two things can so easily become mixed up, whether it is a desire for millions or simply to earn a living at a job that makes me “happy.”
Great Post. God Bless.
Well said on all accounts. A good reminder to stay in check and in the will of God.