When you read the gospels, it certainly seems that Jesus is pretty hard on wealthy people and kind to the poor. He said that it was easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to get a rich man into heaven. He even told a rich young man to give away all his money. Is poverty God’s preferred state of existence? Does money corrode our values so badly that we are best to get rid of... Read More
It is a hard lesson to learn that all my money isn’t mine and that even my wage-earning skills are a gift from someone else. We all need repeated retraining in that radical concept. Wait—there’s more. The Giver of all seems to think that the resources he gives should be used for his agenda.
Jesus told a parable in which he was the star. “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and... Read More
It’s hard to keep life in balance, isn’t it? Work and play, spouse and kids, me and others.
Here’s where some balanced thought is especially needed—what is the source of my income? Isn’t it me? I need to get a job. I need to show up and work. The payroll checks have my name on them, don’t they?
Of course they do. A problem arises, however, when we overdo that self-reliance to the point where we forget that God is... Read More
If you ever find work in a bakery, try to work in the retail end if you want normal hours. If you work as a baker, you are tending the ovens in the middle of the night so that there will be fresh product at 6:00 a.m.
Your God has promised to provide material support for you and for your family. He doesn’t drop it from the sky the way he used to send manna to the Israelites. But he... Read More
A bank teller looks at her cash drawer at the end of the day and says, “Mine.” Foolish. A heavy equipment operator plans on driving home in the road grader he’s been in all day. “Mine,” he says. Foolish. The youthful jewelry store clerk looks at the gems in the glass case and says, “Mine.” Utterly foolish. They are laying claim to things that didn’t originate with them and don’t belong to them.
One of the reasons that the theory... Read More
The Feast of Yom Kippur (the Great Day of Atonement) does not appear on Christian calendars, but it was one of the three great pilgrim festivals in Old Testament times and is still observed in Judaism today.
The fullest description of God’s instructions for this solemn day can be found in the 16th chapter of Leviticus. A young bull, a ram, and a goat were ritually killed and the blood sprinkled. The sins of the nation were ceremonially placed on... Read More
Maybe you’ve heard of the “seven deadly sins.” According to the list of serious sins formalized by Pope Gregory I (c. a.d. 600), greed is #3, outranked only by lust and gluttony. You could argue that all sins are deadly (true) and that there are far more than merely seven (true). Still—that ancient listing shows a sad experience with universal human corruption. People easily fall in love with their stuff.
Or with the stuff they expect to get or wish... Read More
Are you a wealthy person? You’d probably say no. You’ve probably fantasized a thousand times about what you’d do if you had some real money. There’s always a better car, a better house, a better paycheck dangling in front of you.
But you really are wealthy, you know. Jesus Christ has made you a spiritual millionaire. Everything on this earth is fading; only what is in heaven will last. Possessing cash is like playing a temporary board game—you have a... Read More