I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
I’ll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright
‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
Can’t buy me love, love
Can’t buy me love
The Beatles: Can’t Buy Me Love, March 1964
Money can’t buy love. We know because we’ve tried. It is our life-experiment and each time it fails. We’ve paid for good meals, but the date still turned bad. We’ve bought the drinks, but our friends leave when the tab runs out. As long as the team needs your bat and ball, you’re included – but then they don’t invite you to the birthday party.
Somewhere along the way we wise up, “OK, so if money can’t buy me love, then what can?” We turn and study THE FORMULA. THE FORMULA is a pre-written assumption, the First Law of Life, the Guiding Principle of Man. Written on the white board of our soul is THE FORMULA. It reads: __________ CAN BUY ME LOVE.
Money, the Beatles tell us, is the wrong answer, so we scratch it out for now. And we embark on the life-task to fill in that blank.
Our parents instill: good grades, excel at baseball, be cute, be a leader, be quiet… can buy love.
Our friends suggest: be funny, sexy or cool, wear the right thing, follow the crowd… can buy love.
Our boss emails: productivity, sales, promotions… can buy love.
We wear ourselves out searching for the right commodity to trade for the love. It never occurs to us to question THE FORMULA itself. We just keep plugging away – like an exhausted mother, a fatherless son, a prostitute, or a gambler. One more chore, achievement, trick, or roll of the dice.
But what if THE FORMULA is wrong? What if nothing can fill the blank? What if love can’t be bought? What if the only way to ‘get love’ is for someone to ‘give it’? That changes everything. It means the unthinkable.
It means I’m not in control of what I need most. If I want love, and I desperately do, then it will have to be gifted to me. All my earning, bartering, and manipulating will never produce one real ounce of love. THE FORMULA is certain death. If I am to live, grace is the only option.
I wonder if, written into me, somewhere far deeper than THE FORMULA is a something different. Sometimes I think I can hear it – softly, sweetly. And when I do, I rest. Odd. What I hear isn’t a formula or principle; it is a name. It is: BELOVED.
Roger Edwards joined The Barnabas Center in 1991. In addition to counseling individuals and couples, Roger teaches and leads discussion groups about applying the Bible to everyday life. He is a licensed professional counselor, holds a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is married to Jean, and they have seven children.