Friday, February 04, 2011

Money and Goofy Religion Part 6

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

General fiscal rule #2:  Never let money come between you and G-d.

This really is just a corollary of rule #1.

For the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-25), it’s pretty easy to see where the dinero comes between the deity and the... okay, I was going for that alliteration thing and ran out of steam.

Jesus said, “Give it up,” and he couldn’t.

Could I?  If you are reading counting spiritual points, the answer is, “Yes, absolutely, without hesitation.”

If you are reading expecting a little bit of honesty, then I really don’t know if I would.

Give up it all?  

10%, heck yeah.  (Or is that “heaven yeah?”)

More, sure, sure, no problem.

Half?  Well, maybe, I’m not so sure...

More than half?  “Look, Lord, I got me some expenses and...”

The big question is, do I trust G-d more than I trust money?

Okay, I’m rather uncomfortable with where this conversation is going.  And since it is my conversation, let me talk about someone else.

(Deeply paraphrased from Danny Thomas’ biography.)

When Danny Thomas was struggling to get his career as an entertainer off the ground, he was walking back home after striking out on yet another attempt to get a gig.  It had been weeks without work, and things were looking dire - he had a wife and kid at home, another kid about ready to pop out, and seven bucks in his pocket -- all the money that they had to survive on.

As Danny was plotting how to come up with the cash to allow his wife to have the baby at a hospital (asking her to hold the baby in until things turned around didn’t seem practical), he passed a church.  

He felt a prompting to go inside.  Why not? He didn’t have a reason to rush home.

So Danny went in and joined the mass already in progress.

Then the offering plate came around.  Danny felt prompted to put money in.

He argued with this prompting - after all, he didn’t have much to begin with. But the prompting was insistent.

So Danny pulled out his seven bucks, and started to peel one away, wondering what his neighbors might think if he reached into the plate to make change.  That’s when the prompting got ugly.

“Put it all in,” was what he heard.

To which Danny argued, silently but vigorously, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  

He was quick to point out to that still small voice that he, Danny, would be the one having to face his wife.  How do you explain this one?

No food for us.  No hospital visit to deliver the baby.  No rent.  No way!

But the Spirit persisted, and Danny dropped all seven precious dollars into the plate.

After the mass, Danny took his time getting home.  He added up the hospital bill from the last happy bundle the stork brought -- it was about $70.  (Yep, $70 to deliver a child.  Times have indeed changed.)

By the time he got home, he had let got of it.  G-d told him to give up the money; it was no longer Danny’s burden to carry.  

G-d would have to take care of it, and Danny was okay with that.

I think you know where this story is going - you should for one of two reasons:  you are familiar with the wacky ways of the Lord, or you know that this story wouldn’t bear repeating if it ended with Danny getting a divorce and slowly starving to death on skid row.

Danny got home to a wife wondering where in tarnation he’s been; his agent had been calling frantically with a last minute stand up booking.  

That weekend Danny went to work, and made people laugh.

He also made seventy-seven dollars.

Exactly what he needed plus his initial deposit back.

Not a bad investment.

General rule #3 next time.

Just my thoughts,


1 comment:

David Goulet said...

In The Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God to "give us our daily bread" -- not bread for the next year, or bread for our lifetime -- just enough bread for today. Tomorrow we can ask for the same.

Ask for what you truly need, not what you dearly want. It's as simple, and as difficult, as that.