judging from the number of posts on the subject that have popped up on it. has something to do with poverty, and making a difference, and all that. I've read some excellent pieces on looking at addressing the root causes before the symptoms, and to heck with the root causes, but treat a symptom anyway, and prioritizing our church budgets, and what the Epistle of James has to say on the subject. I'd commend them all to your reading. Even a cursory reading of the old testament prophets should clue anyone off that when we don't help those who can't help themselves, it really pisses God off.
that said, I think I'd like to add a quote from my grandfather, who died just over a year ago now. He liked to say, "you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead." Increasingly, I'm becoming convinced that money is really just a figment of our imaginations, that if we try to build wealth, that we're really just locked in some sort of psycho attempt to work the system for poker chips. What I mean is this. If you're at a casino, you don't gamble with actual money. You go in, buy chips, and the chips are good at the casino. You gamble for those on the assumption that, before you leave, you can cash your chips in at the register for something of real value. The actual prize, if you will. The thing is, there isn't any cash register for life. Our wealth, and works and lives will be submitted to the fire at the judgement, and that what is good and lasting will be purified, but that the chaff and rubish will be exposed for what it is and consumed by the fire.
We have the opportunity to turn our worthless little chips into things of Real Merit. But to do that, we have to put them to work. We have to use them. Not hoard them. For a limited time, we can do certain things with our money while we are here in this world. They're not any good when we walk out the door of the casino, and do we really know when closing time is, anyway? A biblical understanding of money starts with recognising its truly ephemeral nature. A stock market crash can obliterate it. Thieves steal it. Moths destry it. And it does not do us any good on that day when our soul will be required of us.
All we have to do is be good stewards. To trade value for Real Value, instead of perceieved. Am I using my money to meet real needs, or perceived ones? Am I using my money in ways that is loving to others, or only to myself? Are my actions loving, or selfish? All those nice, easy questions. Jesus is going to obliterate rich and poor in the coming kingdom. We're going to see ourselves and each other as the equals that we always were. Question is, have we clued into the reality of how much Jesus values each one of us, and been busy being his hands and feet in our time here?