Posted tagged ‘money’

Privileged People and the Privilege of Money

March 16, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          March 16, 2019

                    

A few years ago a mom was upset with me. Her son had tried out for the 7th Grade basketball team and I hadn’t chosen him. He, along with about 25 others, didn’t make the cut.

She was visibly angry.

“He played on a club basketball team!” she informed me. 

“Well, good! I’m sure there’s other opportunities for him to join into, if he wants.” It was not the answer she wanted, but it didn’t seem like an appropriate moment to give her an analysis of her son’s fundamental deficiencies- didn’t have a left hand, couldn’t shoot, and was about two steps slow on defense. 

What she was saying is that she had paid money for him to be a part of a club basketball team. Money should count for something! 

And there it was! A fundamental flaw in the understanding of what money’s purpose is. Using it to help someone hone their math skills, or perfect their singing voice, or dribble with their left hand…those are several worthy uses of a family’s finances, if they have extra funds. But this mom’s understanding of money was that it opened doors that would otherwise remain closed. Money entitled her and her son!

It painted a mindset of a person who felt privileged, a person who expected things!

We all have that mindset in some ways; maybe not with financial funds, but with similar thinking. When I wrote my first novel I figured people would be lining up for the privilege of publishing it. So far I’m still waiting…and waiting. At least, however, I did write it!

Esau felt privileged, as many other first-borns do. David felt entitled to another man’s wife. Ananias and Sapphira didn’t seem to think twice before deceiving the first church by not disclosing all of their financial information. 

Sometimes privileged people forget that they put their pants on just like the rest of us do. 

And so we shake our heads at the news of people, who have money, using it for ill gain! We mutter to ourselves, “That’s just not right!” We often ponder what would happen if we had a pot load of cash? What would happen if the monthly inflow was always more than the outflow and we wouldn’t have to fear the sudden expense of a car repair or the news that one of the kids needs to start wearing braces? We think it would be a breath of fresh air, and we inhale the dream!

Money, however, has a way of taking someone down a glittery path towards distorted reality and an elevated view of their importance. 

If a person doesn’t know who he is then he will allow money to define him. But if he knows who he is- his virtues, thoughts, and routines- whether he has financial resources or not will not matter. 

So…one mom walked away angry and disappointed. Her dream for her son’s life in basketball had been detoured by an old coach who had seen too many wanna’ be’s who never would be.

The Rising Costs of Head Shaking

October 3, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               October 3, 2012

 

Recently a news post hit my web server that left me shaking my head. A 20 year old woman in Brazil was selling her virginity to the highest bidder. I’m not sure that exactly explains what I mean, so let me put it in more explicit terms. She was going to have sex for the first time with the highest bidder. They were going to do this on an airplane in flight, due to prostitution laws in the country.

The young lady is giving a portion of the fee to a human services organization, but the vast majority of her winning bid monies is going to her. She wants to go to law school, go the funds will go to help her become a lawyer. The current high bid is $160,000.

And she isn’t the only one! Selling virginity is becoming a more popular, and lucrative venture. Reportedly a California woman is doing the same thing at a Nevada brothel. Her proposal got 10,000 hits and, although not confirmed, the bid was at $3.7 million.

Many people have come forward to question “what’s wrong with it?” It becomes a great question for a culture that stands less with the Jesus of scripture, and more with the Jesus of invention.

Morality aside, I’m etched with the question “what does Christlikeness look like?” If Jesus was walking with me through this day what would I do to please him? Are there things that I do that I’m hoping he has turned his head and not seen?

Being a follower of Christ has the constant tension involved with it of being labeled “old stuck-in-the-mud!”

So let this “stuck-in-the-mud” give equal time to the high cost of being a German Catholic. In a recent Time magazine there was a note that a resolution/policy had been adopted by the German Catholic Church that stated a 8% tithe was expected from every member to retain their membership. People who gave less would not be members in good standing with the Church.

I’m guessing that the German Catholic Church is having money problems, what with the European debt crisis and all. Giving to the church with a willing spirit has now become secondary in importance to just anteing up!

Many might say I’m taking too extremes and trying to tie in knot with them. Perhaps I am. My judgment is often suspect and flawed.

Whether it is a twenty-something selling her virginity or the church selling “member-in-good-standing”, money becomes the object that we worship. I’d dare say churches worship it, generations worship it, and even non-charitables worship it.

It has become more the necessity than the presence of God and the moving of the Spirit.

Frankly, I’d effected by it more and more. As pastor of a congregation that meets in a facility where things are starting to break down, or need to be replaced, I see the inflow of funds meeting a tidal wave of needs. Therefore, I think about how we can raise more money as much as “how can we help people grow spiritually.”

Money is the subtle influence that borders idolatry.

My cynical side wonders if there might be a Walmart German Catholic Church in the making. “What they ask 8% for we’ll give you for 6%!”