by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
The readings for Sunday, August 23 and 30:
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 & Luke 6:27-36
For much of the past week, as I watched the world's stock markets tumble and rally and tumble again, I thought about various Bible passages that talk about wealth and where we place our trust.
Money--and the power and status that it brings--is a powerfully seductive thing. Once, when facing changed circumstances as my husband left his job, my Charismatic Catholic AA friend acted as if I'd had a death in the family.
I shrugged and said, "I think having too much money is spiritually dangerous."
You wouldn't think I'd have to explain that to her, but I did.
If we have too much money, we tend to think of ourselves as capable and smart and able to go about our lives on our own. We think we don't need God. And soon, we begin to worry that we don't have enough money, and we lash ourselves to our jobs, jobs that require ever more of us, so that we can ensure we have enough money. But we'll never have enough money.
We will never have enough money. We will never be safe and protected by having enough money.
The only way to win that game (to paraphrase books and movies about other subjects, like female beauty and nuclear war) is not to play.
When markets tumble, I'm reminded of how much faith I've put in my money, of how I've stored up for myself treasures on earth, where moths and rust and thieves and worldwide economic downturns can take it.
Again and again, Jesus warns us not to rely on our monetary wealth. Let these market fluctuations remind us that even if we don't own stocks, if we're like the rest of the world, we clutch fiercely to our money. Let us use this reminder to turn to Jesus and cling to what can truly save us.