Jesus and Money

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Denzel Washington Quote
Jesus and Money

Picture courtesy of pinterest

I have lived today’s Old Testament Reading. I know exactly how God feels because I have been hurt, betrayed and deserted. If you are lucky enough to never have experienced any of that, nothing I can say could begin to explain how it feels. Don’t cause it! Enough said!

I am going instead to write about a subject that most don’t like to deal with - Money! I am not holding my hand out here and asking for a donation! Today’s Gospel reading is the Parable of the Rich Fool. Watch the short cartoon and you will quickly get the message that the Pharaohs of Egypt didn’t. You can’t take it with you!

Did you know about 25% of Jesus teaching is in relation to wealth and possessions. When asked a question about an inheritance - Jesus refused to answer - in his day Rabbi’s were judges and he had divine authority but he knew if he had gotten involved His ministry would be hi-jacked by judging petty disagreements rather than teaching about the kingdom of God. He had a higher mission. So what is his attitude to money?

Some people take the view of prosperity and say God wants you to be rich. They take certain Scriptures out of context to make the point: if you really are a Christian then God will make you happy, wealthy, successful, and blessed. You just have to call on the promises of God and He will give you whatever you ask for. So all the poor starving children in Africa are really just Godless heathens living in sin because if they really believed in God they would be driving around in Mercedes not searching for a meal in trash cans. This view of Scripture is a WRONG attitude.

A second group promotes a poverty stance. Being a good Christians means you can't have money, you shouldn’t be wealthy, and you shouldn’t really enjoy life. Their idea is that the entirety of the Christian life should be summed up by sacrifice and suffering. This attitude is just as WRONG!

When Jesus talks about money He addresses the heart and motivation. The Christian life is not synonymous with poverty. It is also not about wealth. Being like Jesus has nothing to do with how much money you have. Being rich doesn’t make you a sinner. Being poor does not make you a saint. Most of the Old Testament Patriarchs were wealthy and look at Barnabas in the book of Acts. He was a rich dude and he was a Christian. But, when someone had a real need Barnabas would sell his possessions, if he needed to in order to meet the need. He had Jesus and wealth. He knew the secret is to put God before money. A Biblical view of money is not about how much you have, but what you do with it.

Do you labor and slave to get the next cool piece of technology, to be state of the art, and to fill your life with STUFF. Greed comes from not being satisfied with what you have, and it becomes a vicious cycle, you will never cease wanting and never feel you have enough. It doesn’t bring happiness. When we become discontented we totally miss the point of what life is really about. Our focus is on the comforts of the world and not on the kingdom of God or meeting the needs of others. Is Money your treasure or your tool? Money wants to be your God. Either you will serve it or you will use it to serve God.