Last week our always excellent Sunday School teacher once again did not shy away from the tough questions. This time, to quote her prechurch email, "How much do you think that how someone uses their money tells you about that person's character/values/morality/righteousness?" The text was Jacob 1-4, the most salient part being 2:17-19---
- Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
Which isn't to excuse myself.
As for me, I have an extremely neurotic relationship with money. I'm terrified of it. I fear being financially comfortable less that mean I am not giving enough away. And the thought of actually being wealthy can give me the cold sweats. It's easier for a rich man . . . .
The funny thing is, although I reject the notion of high-hog living as excused by Jacob I also recognize that were we doing everything we were meant to do (financially), we would still have "sufficient" and even "according to [our] wants."
The facts that we live in a money-driven world and that God wants us to be comfortable and that God wants us to care for the widows and orphans and leprous and poor, are all compatible, no matter how not-so they may occasionally seem.
I don't have a conclusion here. I don't know what the answers for me are and I certainly don't know what they are for you. But if you're looking to be familiar with all and free with your substance, here I am.