Maybe it’s because we have been working on our budget for the past couple of days and so money/finances has been in the forefront of my mind, but when Jim and I read these words today during our morning reading (we read books out loud with each other every day…in addition to the Bible and devotions), they caused me to think. And rethink.
We’re reading King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Tim Keller. And as he prepares our hearts and minds to consider the conversation between Jesus and the rich young ruler he asks this:
What is your attitude toward money?
It’s not a coincidence that for every one time Jesus warns about building our lives on sex and romance, he warns ten times about money. Money has always been one of the most common saviors. Your ability to go out to cool restaurants, to have nice new things, to negotiate a professional culture and peer group — all those things are probably more important to you than you know.
How do you know that money isn’t just money to you? Here are some of the signs: You can’t give large amounts of it away. You get scared if you might have less than you’re accustomed to having. You see people who are doing better than you, even though you might have worked harder or might be a better person, and it gets under your skin. And when that happens, you have one foot in the trap. Because then it’s no longer just a tool; it’s the scorecard. It’s your essence, your identity. No matter how much money you have, though it’s not intrinsically evil, it has incredible power to keep you from God.
And so we pray. What do we need? What do we want? How can we give generously without hurting the recipients in the long run? (And I’m specifically thinking about life on the mission field.) How can we be good stewards of sacrificial gifts given to our ministry? How do we reduce dependency on us without making children suffer as the adults learn to take care of their own? How do we keep money/goods from defining us?
Lord, we so desperately need your wisdom.
(Image by Photos8.org)