504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Money and the Heart

I have been told before that sometimes my timing is awful. I tend to
say the wrong things at the wrong time or to not say the right things at
the right time. So naturally I wait until a recession to preach about
money. Let me give you a few of my favorite quotes about money:

I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be
living apart. — E. E. Cummings (1894 - 1962)

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.
— Errol Flynn (1909 - 1959)

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.
— George Eliot (1819 - 1880)

I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better.
— Sophie Tucker (1886-1966)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
— Jesus (4 BC- 30AD)

The last one is where I hope we spend some time in our personal meditation. If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then the way out of a man's (or woman’s) heart is through the wallet or checkbook or credit card.... Our priorities are reflected more by our use of money--spending and our saving-than anything else. During lean times the unexpected expenses are amplified. The air conditioning unit goes out, the strange noise under the hood isn't a little thing, or a hospital stay has a substantial insurance gap. Even the expected expenses like tuition checks to various universities are a shock to the system.

But put it in perspective. If a child on the other side of the country calls and says, “Daddy I need you,” then money is no object. If a loved one passes away, we honor them without as much concern for the cost. The price of an anniversary gift is not evaluated the same way as a present for the office party at Christmas. Jesus knew that we would be mad about our money, reserved about our resources, and possessive about our possessions. That is why He spoke to our worship by saying that our true nature is revealed by what we do with our things.

Three things that were foundational in the birth of the New Testament church (Acts 4) were redemption through Jesus, eating together, and giving to the point that nobody in the community of faith was in need of any kind.

So when we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we eat together in memory of what Jesus is to us. And when we bring offerings, we make sure that the church can do the work that He called us to do.