MONEY. There, the word is out there … the topic that no-one likes to talk about … especially when it comes to talking about their own! It is easier to talk about the government’s money, or that of my rich neighbor (who is my neighbor, anyway?). But I do not want to talk about mine, and, even more so, I do not want you talking about mine.
WOW – talk about a forbidden topic! Why, oh, why is talking about money so “verboten”? I think it may be associated with two words: trust and personal. We hold our finances to be very personal – how much we have, what we do with it, and how we manage it, all reveal intimate details of who we are. Perhaps that is why 11 of the 39 parables of Jesus recorded in the Gospels talk about money (he has this way, does he not, of getting to the core of who we are and where our trust lies).
And speaking of trust, financial issues historically have been cited as the leading reason behind marital discord (though pornography has recently grown by leaps and bounds). When individuals in an intimate relationship (i.e. marriage, business, etc.) chronically say, “I don’t want to talk about what I do with my money and I don’t want you asking about it,” it displays a low level of trust. In other words, there is a wall of separation in the relationship. And it all has to do with who we are.
Tuesday night STL approved a General Fund budget for the upcoming fiscal year of $455,000.00. When one adds in other restricted projects, the anticipated expenditures go well beyond one half million dollars. Oops, there I go again, talking about that forbidden topic … because you know that all of these funds come from the pockets of generous and loving people like those who read Thursday’s Thirst! (By the way, you will find the many ways for you to financially support the STL mission at the end of today’s letter of encouragement)
Now, if anyone has the right to talk about money, it is … not me, but … Jesus – because he very openly reveals to us who he is and how he trusts us 100% (even when we question his judgement in doing so). Are you acquainted with the I AM statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John? “I am the light of the world.” (8.12) “I am the good shepherd.” (10.14) “I am the bread of life.” (6.35) “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (14.6) “I am the true vine.” (15.1) “I am the resurrection and the life.” (11.25) “I am the door of the sheep.” (10.7) He wants us to know everything about himself – who he is, how much he loves us, and what he wishes to do for us.
And then, in a most intimate conversation with his followers – shortly before his betrayal – Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life down for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15.13-15) Lying immediately before him, in addition to betrayal, was desertion, denial, and a miserable and lonely death. Yet we are told, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13.1)
With the same love, Jesus says to you and me, “Do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6.31-34)
I am not the one to ask you – nor do I want to know – how much money you have, what you do with it, or how you manage it. But I do know that you can reveal all the intimate details of who we are and what we are anxious about with the One who “loves us to the end.” Because, you see, with him there is no such thing as a forbidden topic.