Sunday February 15, 2009
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20.
It’s always been said that you cannot take anything with you when you die. But this verse suggests that you can send it on ahead! Certainly in a time of financial crisis, the loss of earthly wealth is hardly the same tragedy if you have already started saving in the bank that will never need bailing out. But the question always arises, what to deposit there? It is certainly not money; in fact, a later verse suggests that love of money is a barrier serving God.
That, of course, does not include the need of money for the essentials of life: food, shelter and clothing. The tragedy of the current recession is the huge number of people worldwide who are being denied those essentials because of the greed of those in the banking systems that caused the current crisis. If it is possible to send money on ahead it would be to use it to alleviate that lack of resources as well as all the other suffering that this world tolerates. After all, even a glass of water given to a person in need, Christ considers is given to him.
But in the wider context of the passage I have quoted from, it is not the money itself which is the problem, but rather prestige. Jesus continually criticised those who sought places of influence, particularly at the expense of others. And while money can buy almost anything, its greatest purchasing power is for prestige and influence over others. This is the pride of life that the Bible abhors, and we don’t have to be rich to seek it. Ambition for personal gain can be a seductive motive in any of us.
On a seemingly irrelevant note, there is a continuing conflict over the “no God” bus advertising on both sides of the Atlantic. Personally, it doesn’t bother me to see the words “There’s probably no God,” because it suggests the possibility that there is one! What’s more disturbing is the following injunction to “stop worrying and enjoy yourself” that suggests there is no accountability beyond this life. That’s all we need to continue the same old same old that caused the current financial crisis in the first place!