Our God had some choice words to say about this interplay between faith and finances. After The Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16, he says:
“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
And the relationship between these two, God and money, comes up again. One of our United Methodist Churches in Anchorage has been doing a very successful Wednesday Night Dinner. They’ve been very clear. It’s a time for fellowship and to welcome persons into the church in a non-threatening way. It’s for community-building. It’s not for study. It’s not for worship. And it’s not a money-maker. It’s free. The church didn’t want funding to get in the way of ministry. So, a free meal is given. The burden is shared. The community is blessed because of this. I would argue that this gift is a good thing.
Then, however, I find this picture over at Michael Toy’s Blog.
According to the author, this is a picture of: a church, somewhere in America (not important where) which has asked their members to donate stuff, and then on Easter they are giving it all away. The hope is, the lure of stuff will cause people to come hear a sermon about the free gift of salvation. And, if only one person accepts Jesus, it will all be worthwhile. The picture is of the lobby in their church.
Michael Toy has two reactions to this:
- Cripes, are you kidding me? Did anyone ask “wwjd” before they scheduled an orgiastic celebration of consumerism on Easter? Did they read what Jesus did in the temple?
- This is so us, so American, so perfect. No matter what the problem is, the answer is always contained in consumption.
Americans, maybe more than anyone else in the world, are “CONSUMERS.” We consume everything. We consume more than our “fair share.” We consume when we’re depressed or happy or bored. We consume food just because it’s there (I say with latte in front of me at the coffee shop!). Even after our country was attacked on 9/11 we were directed to the malls to keep American businesses going strong.
As I go out on a limb and say that providing a free meal on Wednesday nights is “good,” I want to say that that giving away cars is probably “bad.”
We need to find ways to protect ourselves from serving God and Money. They both demand our allegiance.