I will be honest, I hate talking about money. For me nothing ever good came from a discussion about money. In my family money was and is a big thing. My father spent most of his professional career running the accounting services for Sears, my middle brother is a very successful accountant and my oldest brother has been very successful in his own business ventures. This means that I lose every discussion, whether I am right or wrong, and I also have this biblical slant that makes me distrust money and what it provides.
I truly believe that money can do great things, but like any drug, money can devastate lives, churches, and communities. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to counsel couples on the verge of divorce over money issues. In almost every case that I have worked with the issues that arise focus on the protection of money over the current relationship. It always amazes me, but in each case one of the people will respond with a statement like “we need to protect our money for our future” with the assumption that there is going to be a future.
The sad thing is that often this protection of the future comes at the cost of the present; thankfully through counseling, most of the couples fighting over this issue stayed married, but it is an example of the problem that money poses, what do you trust and who do you have faith in.
Money in its own right is an inanimate object with a worth that society places on it. Actually I take that back since now-a-days money is not even an inanimate object, it is a virtual number that we trust actually exists. And this is where the problems come in. Money often becomes something in which we place faith, as if money can get us out of problems, or money can give us some sort of salvation. This means that we make money out to be an idol, placing it is a superior place to God, thus causing us to sin, living for the propagation of the money rather than the glory of God.
So as you prepare for Sunday I ask: Like the prophet Amos, Jesus has harsh words for those who live in luxury and ignore the needs of the poor. The epistle reading warns that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). What is an appropriate Christian attitude toward wealth? How are we called to treat those who are poor?
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen