Richard Foster offers some practical suggestions of how we can get to grips with what he calls ‘the dark side of money’:-
1. Let’s get in touch with our feelings about money. Let’s acknowledge our fear, our insecurity, our guilt about it. Let’s realise that we often feel threatened by the whole subject of money. We may be afraid that we have too little, or afraid that we have too much. If we have been raised with little we may develop a hoarding attitude; if we have been raised in affluence notions of frugality may seems like vices rather than virtues.
2. Let’s make a conscious decision to stop denying our wealth. If we own a car or our own house then we are, by the rest of the world’s standards, rich. But the purpose of this realisation is not to make us feel guilty, but to help us form an accurate picture of reality. It is only on the basis of honesty that we can use our wealth in a godly way.
3. Let’s create an atmosphere in which we cam make appropriate confession. In our preaching on this subject we often condemn money or praise it, but rarely help each other to relate to it. Let’s be compassionate towards those who have been seduced by money, just as we should be compassionate towards those who have been seduced in other kinds of ways. ‘For the Church to function as the Church, it needs to create an environment in which our failures over money can come to the surface and we can be healed.’
4. Let’s discover one other person with whom we can share our struggle. It would be good if spouses could do this for one another. Let’s help one another with our blind spots, bad habits, and courageous decisions.
5. Let’s discover ways of reaching the poor. Our very wealth can distance us from the poor so that we no longer see their pain. We need to be among the poor, not only to share with them but to learn from them.
6. Let’s experience the meaning of inner renunciation. As Abraham renounced Isaac, and as Paul renounced everything (2 Cor 6:10), let us empty ourselves, so that we can be filled again by God. For we do not, after all, own anything, for ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it’.
7. Let’s give with glad and generous hearts. It is a joyful thing to give. Even the poor need to know that they can give. The act of generous giving destroys the demon of greed. Few may be called to give away everything. But we can all find other ways to give. We can give to people who have no way of repaying our generosity. We can give to the Church. We can give to missions. We can throw a party for those who need to celebrate.
Money Sex and Power, Hodder (1985), 31-36.