Monday, November 26, 2007

Money talk

Cash, wonga, readiesJesus taught that if you wanted His kingdom you’d have to get rid of everything else first (Matthew 13:44, Luke 14:33). Paul warns us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

Scandalously, Paul’s words are often quoted by Christians for the wrong reasons. They use Paul to defend themselves against Jesus. “We mustn’t love money” they say (“but we’ll still have plenty. Phew! That got Jesus out of the way”).

Jesus, hammer-like, put it like this: “You’ll either love God and hate money, or the other way around. You choose” (a paraphrase of Matthew 6:24). Jesus says that if you love God you will hate money! (This is less often quoted by Christians.)

Joe Average wouldn’t deny that he loves money. At least he’s honest. Most Christians guiltily deny that they love their cash and make up pretty excuses: “It’s all right to possess money, just don’t let it possess you”. Rather weak, this, compared with Jesus’ line on money which amounted to: “Get rid of it”.

Money keeps two thirds of the world in poverty for a fat minority. Money causes murder, divorce, slander, selfishness. Money drives people to an early grave, promising happiness it never gives. Money brings out the ugly in people. Money kills. (And you love it, don’t you?)

Stop ignoring Jesus. Why sing songs which decorate Him with titles while ignoring large sections of what he taught?

The church in Acts, with its sharing of money, shows us the teachings of Jesus in practice (Acts 4:32-34). Money is channelled into the apostolic work and the justice of providing for the needy in the community. It is surrendered “for the sake of the gospel” (Mark 10:29).

There was an old nun who was asked to explain her vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. She replied, with a twinkle in her eye: “Got no money, got no man, do as I’m told!” I imagine she could look Jesus in the eye.


J Swift said...
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J Swift said...

Love this post. From a Catholic point of view, the Catechism of the Catholic Church even tells its people that it is obligatory to sell everything that you own and give the money to the poor, if one is to lay a foundation stone of Christian formation, based on Jesus' words to that one young man to whom he said the same thing. I have come to know a handful (couples with childred) who have done just this; I would love to have the grace to do so as well at some point. But I would say 99.95% of lay Christians would ever do it, or know that they are called to do it literally, and completely.