Pick One: Love, Money or Trust

by Scott McGohan

Let me start off by saying I could be off base, arrogant in my thinking, too optimistic or too pessimistic. Regardless of your opinion because it’s not necessarily all mine, could looking at this upside down make us think differently?

Our dominant logic tells us we should take what the world gives us and make it more efficient. The change logic tells us to mandate change with abandon. What if the two collided, what if instead of running form each other we ran with each other in concert, mystically.

It happens in all forms of society and rears it’s head politically. One side says the income disparity is crumbling our economy, give them more, restore the American dream. The other side says we can’t afford to give them more, give them less, restore the American dream.

Charity does the same thing but in different ways. One side says I alone can do it better, give me money and I will deploy those assets in the right place and the right time. The other side says collaboration is centric, let’s collaborate to drive efficiency. Look at this squarely and you will find poverty is like disease, there’s a lot of money in it. In other words the real question is, who wants this solved and the bigger question is why?

“What keeps some persons poor? and what has made some others rich? The true answers to these queries would often make the poor man more proud of his poverty, than the rich man is of his wealth, and the rich man more justly ashamed of his wealth, than the poor man unjustly now is, of his poverty.”

They battle with each other is both assume love for humanity is the ultimate quest and money can be the solution for love. Objects cannot force a feeling nor feelings be viewed as objects.

The same is true for Love. As people search for love, that quest is most often a feeling. Does that feeling result in a motive that is pure and selfless or a motive that is fought with self righteousness and or shame.

The lonely broken person will simply try to find validation that they are worthy of love. The self centered person will be on a quest that they selfishly deserve love. Both are destructive and equally dysfunctional.

Place money in the middle of love, the lack of it or it’s abundance and it spins even faster out of control.

So if there was an abundant amount of money and an overwhelming amount of love to move around why is this still a problem? Why do we still feed the rich and starve the poor or feed the poor with money and love the rich for their generosity?

What if this wasn’t about money or love in the first place?  What if we are thinking about all of this all the wrong way?  Give me all the money in the world and I doubt I could find a sustaining solution. Give me an army of people with love and it’s mark might be difficult to discern.

What if the foundation of the problem was even easier that money or love? What if the solution was something even simpler? We can look back over time and find out why wars were fought, why societies erupt, why people hate and the list goes on and on……

Historically I would look back in time and say the historical turmoil resulted in the greed. The insurmountable greed of land, power, money, religion, technology, resources, is where fear and therefore despair was rooted.

All of this does not sound like a resounding symptom of money or love alone. It sounds like the symptom might be as simple as trust.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.”

So if we are called to trust in Him why is this so confusing. I believe it’s confusing because our reference point is how much we trust ourselves. You can only trust others as far as you trust yourself. We are told to trust before anything else but our eyes see things that defuse trust. What is worse than that is our ability to trust comes from within and our desires move us towards the comfort of money and love.

I am a 49 year old successful white male.  What reference point do I have with discrimination or poverty. Do I really think I have a reference point? I think I do, I think I do because my quest in life was created by a pursuit of love and money. I acquired both and fell to the depths of despair.

I fell with both money and love in my hands and humbly I created my dysfunctional life out of a false self. The only thing I trusted was money and love. Money protected me and love made me feel better. Shame on anyone who would want a part of either my love or money. What I realized is the fighting force was not others, but the evil destructive forces of myself.

The more I fought for more money or more love the angrier I got. It would never be enough and ultimately almost took my soul and my life. The reference point of money was ego and pride and the reference point of love was low self worth. Trust was never a part of me, because I created a false self and cheated trust from the onset.

That is what brings me to this thought. If money and love alone are dysfunctionally created, then why during our quest for a solution is it our only prescription? What if money and love came after the evolution of trust?

I was a young boy with a lazy eye, dyslexic and shy. I had little self worth and like every little boy, wanted to be liked. I bought a young girl a necklace with her initials on it and she was my girlfriend. My perception of love was a gift paid for with money. My pursuit of love came out of a low self worth paid for with a lie about myself.

I lost that girl to someone who didn’t give her things but gave her a relationship. It took me decades to learn this and I have the scars to prove it. It can be said for the young girl who has low self worth who believes giving her love to another boy will give her love an equal lie.

To this day, I wish I understood the value of trust in love not for love. I trust my wife not to hurt me, but the real question is how far can I trust myself not to hurt her? My opinion tells me I love more than I trust because I don’t trust myself more than I love myself.

The same is true for poverty as societies attempt to solve the problem behind glass and doors. Sure they might drive into a poor neighborhood paint a fence, feed the hungry, give them some money but in the end, isn’t it more about the feeling those who have resources get from giving and than the need on the other side?

I think about this and wonder: what if it’s starts with trust? What would our society look like if we lived together and not apart? Both sides look at each other and admires or resents. Think about the internal struggle if the people with the money went to those who were poor to simply spend the night in their neighborhood. Think honestly about the fears, the fear of crime, fear of losing your stuff, someone getting hurt. You see from societies standpoint we normally look at this scenario from one direction, what if we flipped it?

What if the “other” part of town came to visit overnight. What would their fears be? Oh they would be just as grand but different. Fear of someone calling the police, fear of getting hurt, fear of being looked down upon. They are different fears but they are just as critical and just as real.

So if we drive to the “other” side of town and throw money out of our windows and sprinkle love from the air how can either side appreciate each other and therefore trust. My initial thought is, both are easier. Giving money and showing love is easier than growing trust.

In my brokenness I could not buy my way out with money nor beg for love to take the pain away. I had to surrender, I had to trust that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I did not have the ability to trust myself but could I have the strength to trust something outside of myself. I did and I will never look back.

It was in that trust that I began to trust who I was meant to be. Not to condemn who I was with guilt and shame. It was in that trust that Love rose it’s head and I could not only love an amazing God but began to love myself. Money played no part in my journey, with it or without it I was at the end and money was the last thing I reached for. Money had failed me just like love had failed me. It was Trust that restored me, though Him.

So as I continue to think about bridging the gap between those who have much and those who do not, I am starting to believe that money and love can’t solve poverty alone.

The attempt to solve the problem with money can sound honorable but could it be our guilt that drives us to give. Additionally when give our time in love could the same guilt be driving this attempt. The same is true for those who accept these gifts in the motive of shame.

What if we surrendered our money and our love and went on a quest for trust? What if those we aspire to help and those who desire help trusted each other? What if that trust drove serenity, humility and spiritual aspiration to reach out of poverty; not out of guilt or shame but a desired belief in each other and a trust that we belong to each other. A trust so deep that the motive of money and love is cloaked in trust and therefore adhering to our calling. Our calling to Trust in Him, trust in ourselves and trust in each other all for the greater good.

So pick one for a solution, Money, Love or Trust? I pick trust because inside trust is truth and the truth will set you free and who knows maybe us all!


Scott McGohan is the CEO of McGohanBrabender, a health insurance and benefits broker founded in 1972, based out of Dayton, Ohio.

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