30 Pieces of Silver

JMJ

What in your life is your thirty pieces of silver?

Money is like fire, it is extremely useful, but if you attempt to hold on to it, you will be burned. . .eternally. People get so upset when a man speaks against money in a religious context. They begin to stress words in phrases. They will say, “Love of money is the root of all evil.” Rarely will they say, “Love of money is the root of all evil.” I don’t think it truly possible for one to love money, for to “love” is to will the good of the other, but should it be possible to will the good of money that would only be achieved by bringing money to the fruition of its full potential and this would be manifest in ending poverty everywhere. Thus I don’t think “love” is the issue, but money itself. No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Very tellingly is in the gospel when the Pharisees and Herodians inquiring about the justice of paying the census tax to Caesar, Jesus asks to see a coin and inquires as to whose image is on it. “Caesar,” they reply and Jesus give them this advice: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s.” This phrase speaks to many things, what come to mind for me is the idea that money is created in the image of the master of this world (is not Satan referred to the prince of the world?), and man is created in the image of God. Money for Satan as his image is upon it; man for God as he bears God’s image. Simple, yes?

It seems these days, we are of the mind: God is for salvation; money for everything else. But what is it I ask you that does not belong to God? The idea that we should get something for what we do seems to be a misunderstanding of economy and contrary to the principle of service where we work to contribute our efforts, ingenuity, creativity, industry, and produce to meet the need of the community whereas those have other talents do the same meeting the communities and our needs. This is the whole purpose of community. Governments are established to accommodate and protect this social interaction and exchange. Governments in the facilitation of this exchange may establish “money” as a symbolic means to transfer these goods so that I would not be forced to constantly have 2 or 3 cords of wood with me to obtain my basic needs. The reality would remain, however, the 50 cords of wood in my possession belong to the community and the money I have a marker indicating I have made my contribution to society and that I am entitled to my food, housing, water, etc. However, in the Kingdom of God, I would not be working to secure my need or even the narrow needs of my family, it would be my job and the job of each individual to contribute their skills to meeting the needs of the entire community. If one person goes unfed, we have all failed to perform our function.

“But my work produces a measurable product, is not that, even in its excess, rightfully mine?” The economy of the Kingdom of Heaven would say, “No.” If it being cold outside, you have 2 coats and another none, the second coat is by justice the one who has none regardless of his ability to pay or not. Not on credit, not on promissory note, the coat is his. For you to keep it is theft. One may think: If I build machine “X” that produces widget “Y,” Do I not then own widget “Y?” All widget “Y’s” it produces? Should not widget “Y” profit me? Using this reasoning would it not follow: God created us “X” and we produce according to our design and gifts “Y,” does not all our produce “Y” belong to God and since God wills the good of all men, our produce should be denied no one, as ultimately it belongs to God. No man should go to bed hungry, lack a bed to go to, or die as a result of need when what is needed to preserve his life exists. If a dollar denies a child a meal then the whole concept of “dollar” is an evil, a blight upon humanity and should be eradicated as quickly as possible, i.e. the speed of thought. God created us, thus our produce is for the good of all His creation.

If I build machine “X” that produces widget “Y,” Do I not then own widget “Y?” Should not widget “Y” profit me?

But what is it that for which we betray Christ? How many frivolous things do we do each day and complain we can’t find time to pray? Do our jobs support evil in the world? Do we work for companies that exploit slave labor abroad? Do we frequent these stores? Do we support companies that do not pay employees benefits or a living wage? Do we own or manage these companies?Do we watch t.v. shows and movies that exploit violence and suffering, that objectify women for entertainment and pleasure? Do we delight in others’ failures, seeing benefit to our ambitions? Do we work in hospitals that promote abortion? Do we teach in schools that think children are better off without God? Schools that don’t remain neutral but seek to deny God? Do we vote for politicians that support abortion? Do we vote for politicians who want to wall off our country from the rest of the world, keeping the poor, the hungry, the oppressed out crying out, “THIS IS OURS! THIS IS OURS! THIS IS OURS!” Do we grow fat as the world starves, as though we are devouring their very flesh? Do we lay waste to the land making it unlivable for God’s creation? Do we simply forget the humanity of the everyday man and woman? It is not okay. We cannot make excuses. We must stop lying to ourselves. If we are not going to change, why add to our sins by lying to top them off? If you are going to sell out Christ at least stop thinking He, God Himself, is deceived by your acts of piety. When do we sell out Christ? Every day a person has nothing to eat. Every night a man sleeps out on the street. Every death for lack of an insulin shot. Every evil in the power of man to overcome, that he fails to overcome, becomes his evil–his child–his spouse–his self!

“REPENT!” cries the Baptist, “THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND! YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! WHO WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE COMING WRATH! PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT AS EVIDENCE OF YOUR REPENTANCE!

“Come to me,” says the Master, “all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

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