Friday, January 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Stuffing Part Two

Continued from yesterday:

Which brings me to the important error in the philosophy:

“… and G-d will bless you with boat loads of money.”

Live a life focused on the right things, and G-d will bless you – yes! But be very careful about defining exactly how you will be blessed.

Being blessed with good things and being given money are two very different things.

And hold on to your comments – I am not saying that money is a bad thing. And I am not saying enjoying wealth is a bad thing.

I’m all for having more than enough, and I’m all for enjoying it.

The Bible never says that money is the root of all evil. But it does warn against the love of money.

(“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10)

And the prosperity Gospel is dependent on the love of money – for the giver and the minister propagating it.

It is the longing to have money that motivates the “and he will bless your gift with wealth.”

Not the love of blessing, not the love of God’s goodness – but the love of money.

Look, I know that G-d may choose money as the instrument of blessing for you. But I pray for your sake that money isn’t your main source of blessing.

Let me put it this way: chocolate is good. Enjoying chocolate is good.

Now suppose you get a cut on your leg – gashed it while hopping a rusty fence, taking a short cut through life. So you get on the right path, but you’ve got this injury, so you ask G-d to help out.

And he does, by pouring chocolate syrup into your wound.

A good thing, right? Why not!?! Are you saying that chocolate is bad!?!

Okay, so maybe we can agree that chocolate, while being good, isn’t the right blessing for all things. In fact, chocolate (I can’t believe I’m saying this) isn’t among the major ways G-d blesses.

And money is not among the major ways that G-d blesses.

In fact, G-d will often bless us by denying us money. Any Richard Cory fans – either Robinson or Garfunkle versions?

Here’s the point to this long-winded piece: G-d does not want us to be obsessed with or focused on money.

He doesn’t want us to be looking at him and thinking “sugar daddy.”

He doesn’t want us to think, “rats, I worshipped him and all he gave me was this stupid love relationship, spiritual calm, family healing, joy in my work and my daily bread. What a cheapskate.”

Jesus says this in the sermon on the mount.

He tells us not to worry about money – not because were going to get a lot of it, so don’t worry; but rather because money just plain isn’t important enough to be the pushing out the truly worthwhile things.

So I am grateful for stuff. Not because G-d giving me the resources to have stuff is central, but for the very fact that it is merely a bonus to the many blessings he has already showered on me.

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

What's with the sermon? Did you spend too much on the house and are know trying to calm yourself by reminding yourself of all the wonderful things you do have?

David Goulet said...

When we pray the Our Father, we ask 'give us this day our daily bread'. Not 'enough bread for the next ten years'. Our immediate need is sufficient.

And while Jesus said 'blessed be the poor', I don't recall a 'blessed be the rich'.

Wealth is not in itself a bad thing. It's like any other asset you have as a child of God -- the trick is in how you use it.

Good posts Sean. Nothing wrong with a nice sermon.

Janet said...

I'm with David.

But now I have "Richard Cory" stuck in my head (the Paul Simon version)....

Gaffney said...

Anon -- guessing you don't know me well. What don't I sermonize about? Jeepers, I got a six-part series out of a Charlie Brown cartoon! But you got part of that right -- I am reminded of all the wonderful things I have.

And Janet -- I'm with you -- stuck in my head for a week now: "And I wish that I could be, oh I wish that I could be, oh I wish that I could beeeee.... Richard Cory!"

anon #2 said...

Hey Dave

Just because something is said doesn't make it true:

Hitler promised prosperity to all Germans in 1936 and we know how THAT turned out.

Clinton said "I did not have sex with that woman" and we know how THAT turned out.

"I do not recall blessed be the rich"?? So the rich are cast out of Christianity because they have not been blessed?? C'mon!!

Gaffney said...

Anon #2 -- Gotta say, you have some bizarre reasoning. Nothing like comparing Jesus' promises to Hitler to make a body go "huh?"

Dave's comment does not say or even hint that the rich are cast out of Christianity; he simply seemed to agree with me that being rich is not the focus, the main point of Christ's mission.

To sum up in football's favorite verse: "For G-d so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that all who believe in him may have gobs and gobs of moolah."

David Goulet said...


I really don't know what your point was, but it sounded passionate.

And to add to the context, Jesus made a point of saying 'blessed be the poor' because in his world it was assumed that the rich were already blessed by God. The poor were seen as being cursed by God. Jesus flips the assumption on its head -- that poverty was not a curse and the poor are indeed blessed in ways they'd never considered.

In our current world, we see similar assumptions with the gnostic Prosperity Gospel. You are poor because you are not being blessed by God because your faith is weak or your seed (offering) is too paltry or given in the wrong season, blah, blah.

Jesus' calls us to rethink how we define 'rich'.