Here is my take on money.
I'll tell it to you straight up without leaving you in suspense.
(You know those articles that start off with a provocative question and you're left hanging until the end of the peice? Well, I'm not going to put you through that torture. :-))
It's a means to an end.
How profound. What does that mean?
Really, everything physical in this world is a means to attain something spiritual.
Like a house is a medium to connect to family. And food is a medium to connect with men. And children are a means to connect with all your bad character traits. And school is a medium to connect with friends. Books are a means to connect with what's going on in the world. And tests are a medium to let your teacher know how much you know (aka : to connect)
So money is the same thing.
See this past article.
You can use it as a tool to connect with children: "Look what I bought you from my trip," You can use it to connect to your spouse,"Look how much I love you." And you can use it to get your voice heard in the world, "Look at my house and my car and clothing. I must be treated with utmost respect." You can even use it become a President! :-)
You can also use it in the negative. To your children: "You hurt your younger sister. Therefore you lost your ice pop." Your spouse is not being kind to you. " I won't make him his favorite cake." You can use it to exert control over a cause: "If you don't change the way you do "xyz" I will withhold my funds to your organization."
Hashem works the same way with us. He uses "things" as a means of communicating what He wants. The next world is not a tangible world. And G-d is not a tangible being. But the only way to get to the intangible is through the tangible.
You cannot teach your son respect just by giving him speeches about respect. You need to use prizes and punishments in order for him to understand. His little animal mind will not be able to comprehend what respect is without all these physical entities.
Hashem works the same way with us.
He wants us to become more G-dly.
But G-dliness doesn't look like anything physical. It doesn't look like money and it doesn't look like houses and it doesn't look like cars.
It looks like love, it looks like respect, it looks like giving, it looks like humbleness, it looks like happiness, it looks like beauty, it looks like kindness.
It looks like all the things that you cannot see.
So money, just like every other physical entity, is really just a means to help people become the people they need to become. And when G-d is not happy with the way we are becoming, he will withhold some money, in order that we become the people we ought to become.
There's a push and a pull going on here.
He gives, we're happy. All is well.
Then He retracts, we start freaking out, and we are forced to look within and see why He is withholding at the time. So G-d is not measuring our status by how much money we have. But he is using it as one of His tools to get us where we need to go.
We have a choice.
Just like anything else in life.
We can choose to tap into that message and do something about it. Or choose to go to sleep.
Many of us choose the latter.
That's o.k. It's hard to become our higher selves. It takes more effort, energy, and time to become the people we need to become.
It's much easier to just follow all the outside messages around us. "Whoever thinks money can't buy happiness, transfer it to my account." or “Money is like a sixth sense – and you can't make use of the other five without it.” Now how about our body images? Especially for women! "You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed." And when it comes to our children's clothing? And our cars? And.... You can fill in the blank.
We stop at the Physical aspects of the world and don't get past it. We don't want to accept that it's just a means to something bigger. We don't always want to do the work. We tend to look at the means as the end within it of itself.
Money is a tool that G-d uses to communicate his messages with us. We can choose to ignore or choose to accept. If we choose to accept we usually end up with more prizes from above. Even physical prizes. He throws down to us money, He throws down to us jobs, He throws down to us Health....
And when we ignore, we may sometimes be getting more of our means taken away....