What would you do if you had a million dollars?
Along with, “What I did on my summer vacation,” this question likely ranks among the top most common school essay topics. But we don’t stop asking it of ourselves after graduation. Perhaps the verbiage changes a little, but the heart of the question remains: what would I do if I had tons of cash? What would I do if money was no object? What would I do if I didn’t have to have a job? What would I buy if I had more disposable income?
A 1999 movie incorporates the million dollar question into part of its dialogue. One of the characters provides this commentary (paraphrased): “The question is intended to point out what each person would most enjoy doing. And supposedly whatever you answer, that’s what you should do. But it’s a junk question: if everyone only did what they’d most prefer to do, there’d be no janitors or garbage collectors.”
Money is a resource, and it plays an interesting role: the consideration of money can distract us in two ways. On the one hand, obsession with acquiring and spending money can lead us to a shallow life defined only by the bottom line. On the other hand, fret over not having enough money can stifle our dreams and courage to walk in faith. We can give up too early because we can’t see where the money would come from. Or, we can narrow down our vision so tightly, obsessing so much on the money issue, that we never look around to see what other opportunities might be available.
Indeed, some of us spend our entire lives trying to find a way to live in light of our perspective on the million dollar question.
I’m currently facing a significant life decision. I’d be lying if I said money wasn’t an issue. One possibility would entail some significant financial investment, beyond what’s currently available to me. While I know money isn’t the main thing, it’s hard to ignore the apparent costs of making a certain choice.
Thankfully, last night, God gave me a little encouragement. I understood Him to say, “Make your choice. If you choose the one option, I’ll make the finances available.” Why, Lord? “Because you’re My son, and I’m going to support you in what you do.”
Let me be clear: I don’t think God is handing me a blank check. But I do understand Him to mean this: don’t let money–the availability of resources–be the determining factor in your decision-making. In my situation, neither choice is sinful–so it’s not a moral issue. I don’t have the sense that choosing one of the options would be disobedient. Each choice just opens a different set of doors of future opportunity, and one of those choices would require some additional financial resources. God doesn’t seem to want me to be paralyzed by the million dollar question. There are apparently some more important factors for making this decision that I need to be considering.
What would I do if I had a million dollars? What could I do? What should I do? If attaining a million dollars has driven your life up to this point, take a step away, and see if there are other things you can look at as you make life decisions. If the lack of money has stifled your faith-based service and dreams, step away, look up to the God who rules a Kingdom of unlimited resources, and see if He might sponsor you as you desire to walk in faithful and obedient service to Him.
A million dollars may not stretch as far as it used to. But the more important question is: can we stretch ourselves far beyond a million dollars?