A wise man once prayed something like: “God – please provide enough for my family and me so that I’m not tempted to steal, and not so much that I forget what it’s like to be in need.” I like the prayer because it shuns gluttony but seeks ‘daily bread.’ It begs remembrance of the poor and hungry so that the one praying will then feed, house, and clothe the less fortunate, just as Jesus commanded.
The Son of God summarized the Old Covenant laws and prophecies with two statements from the ancient Jewish Torah: treat God appropriately and people charitably (Matthew 22:35-40). Do you know that we’ll be judged at the end of this age on whether we obeyed those commandments (Matthew 25:31-46)?
We often see two extremes when it comes to our treasures: those who give generously for their fellow humans and those who love wealth. In the first group, we find Jesus and other servants who have given their lives for people they often don’t know. They may have also given generously to help feed, clothe, or house others. These people reflect the face of our God who created the spirit within us; their focus isn’t on self and material things.
What about the other group? There, you’ll find people who horde resources despite the suffering around them. They love money and stuff and entertainment, and that’s their focus. Perhaps they’ll give a few dollars here and there for charity but then spend thousands on a new shiny bobble or the latest electronic thing. These people reflect not the face of our creator but passion and self-serving nature.
If we want to look more like the first group, we need to be content with what we have, avoiding the love of money, which is the “root of all sorts of evil” (1Timothy 6:6-11; Hebrews 13:5). If possible, stay out of debt to avoid becoming a slave (Proverbs 22:7) and don’t store up treasures on earth. Be charitable. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus also reminds us that “where our treasure is, there our heart will also be.” Where’s your heart? What’s in your wallet? Is it money earmarked to help the hungry or less fortunate? Or would we discover bountiful plastic or lots of cash destined for food, drink, entertainment, and the latest shiny thing?
What about next week? Let’s explore some of the challenges of our ‘get saved quick’ Protestant Christian culture in Cheap Grace.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley