Different Worlds… Or Maybe Just Different Opinions
Prosperity Theology vs. Liberation Theology. That is how I’d like to frame this discussion. There are those that believe that we are called to be blessed. There are those that believe that we are called to defend and liberate the oppressed. The more conversations I have about money lately, the more I realize I am on the liberation front. My heart is with those of the lower income variety. In our context, it is with the people of my neighborhood that struggle to find a job, keep a job, keep their home, feed their family, those that are lonely, tired, addicted, and seemingly forgotten. I might actually be finished in life materialistically speaking. I’ve lost everything once and have since detached from “stuff”. Yet I have already accumulated more than I want. I have a decent house. I have a decent job. I am purchasing a vehicle that will hopefully drive me through at least the next decade or more. Shouldn’t I freely be giving what I don’t need? Or should I, perhaps, upgrade my electronics? God would want me to upgrade my television. Right?
Give it All Away and Follow Me… Or Not, Whichever
Jesus, what do you think about me and my stuff you have blessed me with?
“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Mt19:21
I hear, but I don’t hear. You know? That couldn’t apply to today’s culture, right? Perhaps we could consider this a friendly nudge about where our priorities are. I am currently not bold enough to literally do this. Physically, I don’t even know what to follow. Jesus has not revealed himself in human form to me that I know of. At least not in an obvious way that he did to the disciples. I think from this passage we can gather an idea of what is important and what might not be as important when it comes to God’s kingdom.
Eye of a Needle… Small Spaces
Ok, new strategy. Perhaps if I work and concentrate my life to building up wealth, and I keep the intention of giving a lot of it away a priority God would bless that and give me a nice pat on the back at the Pearly Gates. Jesus, what do you think of that?
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Mk10:25
Well, it seemed like a logical strategy. I mean, God isn’t exactly saying that it cannot be done. Perhaps this is another friendly nudge to think about our priorities.
The Love of Money… Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all
Can we focus on the things that Jesus focused on and keep our monetary motivation? I’d like to think of myself as a multi-tasker. Jesus, are you down with my multi-tasking skills?
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Mt6:24
Ok, now I am just being silly. Jesus loves my multi-tasking skills. I am eavesdropping on a conversation, drinking a latte, and thinking about pizza as I am writing this. Check out my next article on the love of food.
The Case for Oprah… It’s Good to be Queen
I heard recently that ministries need millionaires. Look how generously some of them give. They support important kingdom work. My thought to this is simple. If you are goal oriented enough to become a millionaire than it is probably likely that this quest consumes a large portion of your attention, your mind, and your heart. Most millionaires didn’t get there by accident, though some certainly inherited their wealth. I am not going so far as to say that anyone is living a sinful life or has idols that they shouldn’t. That is not for me to decide. I am simply focused on my family and myself. When I am in a position to dialogue with others, this is the view that I share. If you are rich, know that you are loved and no less valuable to God. I just ask that you consider your priorities and consider whether or not you would like to donate to my non-profit organization. All kidding aside, let’s be careful about what blessings we teach about. For those who like a third opinion let’s ask Paul. Hey Paul, any thoughts on money? Could I be wrong about how you shouldn’t dwell on it so much?
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” Tim 6:10
Seems harsh, do you even know what love is? Oops, wrong person to ask. (See Corinthians13)
Joy in Nothingness
The beautiful thing about forming our theology is that it is always open to interpretation and dialogue. If it is not, you may have stopped learning and growing. I understand that I write this from a place of privilege. I understand that some struggle financially more than others. I also understand the relative nature of poverty and the relative nature of wealth. However, I cannot just sit by and say nothing while preachers proclaim that God wants us to be rich! I’m tired of prosperity verses taken out of context. I cannot sit by and say nothing while preachers equate blessings with wealth! God is into love. He is into relationships. He is not into money.