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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wealth and Treasure, Rust and Moths

The reading for Sunday, July 15, 2017:

Matthew 6:19-34
Any time we see stock markets wobble, I think about various Bible passages that talk about wealth and where we place our trust.  The one in Matthew is one of the most famous.

Money--and the power and status that it brings--is a powerfully seductive thing. Once, when facing reduced circumstances because of my spouse's job loss, 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 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 from me, and I can do nothing.

Most spiritual traditions warn us not to rely on our monetary wealth.  Let us try to follow the teachings of Jesus, who reminds us that God knows what we need.  The passage at the end is one I suspect I will spend my entire life trying to follow:  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Let us strive not to worry at all.  Let us learn to trust God ever more fully.

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