"Money makes the world go 'round."
Ouch! Plenty people take offence to that cliche. It implies that rich people call the shots or that values like love and wisdom are not respected in society. The "Golden rule" that "he who has the gold makes the rules" drives capitalism, but unnerves people's sensitivities.
What would you say if I told you that Judaism believes that money does make the world go 'round? Surprised? I thought so. (No comments about revenue of Jewish organisations, please). It's not that Judaism sees money as the turbine of life, but it definitely acknowledges that it plays a pivotal role in our existence.
Money can't buy you happiness or meaning, but it can buy you partnership in G-d's business. G-d is supremely creative. He could have designed the realities of the world in any one of an infinite number of ways. He could have made everyone wealthy, or decided that money should grow on trees, or that people should survive without ever needing cash. He didn't. He chose to make haves and have-nots. And He had a very good reason for doing so.
Life is the confluence of give and take. Earth gives forth plants that offer nutrition to animals, who provide food for humans, who plow energy back into the earth to restart the cycle. Beyond the physical, G-d supplies energy and means to us, and we return dedication and achievement to Him. All life is the cyclic heartbeat of providing and receiving. Sometimes, you are the recipient, other times the supplier.
When G-d gives you money, He invites you onto the supply side of existence. He expects you to start a new flow from provider to recipient. He wants you to channel some of your success towards others less fortunate. As you become a provider, you stimulate more flow from the Ultimate Provider to you. He sees you as a reliable partner in His grand plan- the flow of energy through life.
Money makes the world go 'round, but only when it moves outwards. If the buck stops at you, if you hang on to every cent, the cycle stops and the blessings can no longer flow. If you keep the cash flowing, so does G-d.