Jim Cramer is an author, investor, and TV personality that many people know. His high energy excitement about the stock market makes him informative and entertaining. Now 67 years old, in his late 20s he went to work for Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. In a recent CNBC article he details his excitement when he first made his first million dollars. He went home to share the news with his dad and mom (who was sick and dying of cancer). Jim was sure they would be so proud of him. That may have been the case for his dad, but mom wasn’t much impressed. She told him, “You, my son, are embarrassing me and embarrassing yourself. Is that what it is—was it always about the money?”
When Jim shared that he was proud of what he had done, she replied, “Be proud if you wrote something great. Be proud if you are an artist. Don’t be proud because you made money….When I leave this earth, if this is what it is all about, I am a failure.”
Cramer said he never forgot what she told him. “When you’ve really made some money, stop; go be a writer.”
As we come near to Mother’s Day, we can celebrate much wisdom that our moms have passed on to us. But Mrs. Cramer certainly hit the bullseye. Money for the sake of money is a waste of a life. Being rich is not an end in itself. 1 Timothy says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or put their hope in wealth…Command them to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. This way they will lay up for themselves treasure as a firm foundation for the coming age, so they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6: 17-19)
I know that my own mother wouldn’t much care if I made a few million if I wasn’t a decent human being. She would rather I use my life and dollars to reflect the values of faith that she both exemplified and taught to me—values she learned through her faith and church family.
My mom and Cramer’s mom understood stewardship. Money is for doing something important with and through our lives. Money is for both living and sharing the life that God has put within us. If we do that, we will not only make God happy—we will make mom proud.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana