Saturday, July 4, 2009

More thoughts on Matt: 6:19-24 and treasure on earth

I'm still kicking around the message in my head from a few weeks ago, about Matt. 6:19-24 and Christ's teaching about not building up one's "treasures on earth." Pastor played down the angle of the Christian possessing wealth with the (somewhat tired) expression of "there's nothing wrong with a Christian having wealth", which unfortunately I've heard from a few too many pulpits over the years, and each time I hear it I have trouble with it. In a way, it feels as if the teacher is trying to appease the token rich person/people in the audience, or it could just be a type of spiritual complacency towards Christian wealth possession, as if this, if anything, is just one of the "lesser sins". I dunno. My struggle is, if anything, taking for granted the DESTRUCTIVE power that money has in a person's life (my own life is no exception. I'm dirt poor and saddled with plenty of debt, but that doesn't mean that the world of the material doesn't hold sway on my heart and hinder the progress of my own sanctification. Don't even get me started in dreaming about some of the cool stuff they have at Frys...)

Anyhow, let me try to break out my thoughts out this a little more, in my own reasoning, at least. When a pastor says that "there's nothing wrong with a Christian having a lot of money," to me this is similar to saying, "There's nothing wrong with a Christian who wants to live on snake island" (with the number of venomous snakes directly proportional to the amount of earthly wealth.) Is there anything wrong with living on snake island? In and of itself, no. But the greater the number of snakes, the greater the likelihood that the individual can get struck, and venom can infiltrate one's life. Wealth in abundance can sometimes be like a venom: corrosive bodily and potentially lethal. But the snakes may never strike, and the venom may not be an issue. But the RISK factor is there.

It's not my intention to judge or condemn here: a believer with great wealth has a type of blessing from God (I do NOT believe that wealth is always a blessing though. I've been MASSIVELY blessed in my own life, and I have been and remain to this day dirt poor financially.) I'm breaking this down because, frankly, I've been kicking around in my own head how I'd ever handle great wealth if God brought this into my life. Say my web comic is picked up by a major studio (don't laugh, it could happen.... ok, it won't ever happen) but say I'm introduced to wealth - how would this translate into my walk? What does wealth do to the heart of a believer, and is it's influence ultimately more corrosive than anything? Is it more of a blessing to NOt receive wealth? What was Jesus really getting at in his message in Matt. 6 (and in other texts, such as when he tells the rich young ruler to sell what he had and give it all to the poor. Why does something like that seem so unthinkable this day an age?)

Just some pondering lately. Happy 4th. May God continue to bless this nation.

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