Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Peace be with you!
I have more money than most individuals my age. When I was born, the nurse forgot to put the oxygen on when she placed me in the incubator. This disastrous mistake led caused me to develop Cerebral Palsy; consequently, my parents were able to get a settlement from the hospital. The blessing of having money is that I can do what I want. I can take trips around the country to visit friends and family. I can afford a second electric wheelchair that can break down and fit in most cars for when I travel. I can afford things most of my friends can only dream about buying – not that I am particularity proud of the fact. However, it is a responsibility to have money, because I am called to share my wealth with those that have little. So maybe I do not buy new clothes as I would like, and instead I use the money to help a friend buy food for her family. My abundance allows me to serve others in order to give them the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to be successful in the world.
A rich man approaches Jesus with a question: How does one enter the Kingdom of God? (Mark 10:17). Jesus begins by recalling the Ten Commandments: you shall not commit murder, adultery, steal, or lie and you shall honor your mother and your father (Mark 10:19). Anyone who grew up reading the Torah knew the Ten Commandments and was also able to obtain a higher education if their parents had money. The rich man had studied the Torah and kept the laws of the Torah (Mark 10:20). Any other teacher would commend the rich man for keeping the Law since his youth – but not Jesus. It is not enough to keep the Ten Commandments. Jesus says the rich man needs to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor (Mark 10:21). It is a harsh word for the rich man to hear, because he has many possessions that mean a lot to him. The rich man was keeping the bare minimum of the Law, but he was not fulfilling the larger challenge to use his resources to help those in need.
As humans, we accumulate a lot of things over our lifetime. We are always looking for something better — for ourselves. People stood in line for hours — or even days – when the new iPhone 5 was released. Men are always looking forward to buying a new car with more horsepower. Women like their clothes and jewelry. I have enough books for a small library. We like to surround ourselves with stuff.
Yet Jesus calls us to surrender all of our stuff in order to help the poor. He calls us to use our wealth to build community by helping those who do not have the essentials. Maybe instead of buying a new iPhone whenever Apple releases a new version, you could donate food to the food pantry every other time. The $199+ could feed a family of four for a week. There is a responsibility when you have money, because there is always someone who needs a hand.
Serving others do not mean we give out handouts to everyone who asks for help. Some people will always use the system and so giving wisely is important, but even those who might not have made the best decisions in life need help to become better individuals. We need to equip individuals with knowledge and tools to be productive in our society, so they can go out and serve others. As the Chinese Proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Last January, I went on a cruise where I met a mother with a son who could not verbally communicate. I basically handed the young boy my iPad and showed his mom and him my Proloquo2Go app, which allows an individual to program phrases and sentences to use when he is talking to others. The young boy was able to be involved in our conversation. The mother and I talked about how she could get her son an iPad with the Proloquo2Go app through insurance and other funding sources. I gave the mother knowledge to get her son the tools he needs to be successful in school and participate more in society. Jesus calls us to share our knowledge, tools, funding, and all of our other resources to help others to be successful. When we answer Jesus’ call, we put our trust in the Triune God who will take care of us in our time of need.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving us an abundance to share with others. Help us to put our trust in you as we go out and serve others. Remind us that wealth is a blessing and a responsibility to serve others. Thank you for allowing us to serve others in order to make them successful in the world. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. How much are you willing to give up? What are you not willing to give up? Why?
2. What do you trust God with? How?
3. How do you serve God? How do you serve others?