Thursday, June 11, 2009

This week's lesson: stewardship

Anytime somebody says, "It's not the money -- no, it's the principle of the thing . . . "

Guess what?

It's the money.

Take this week's Sabbath School lesson -- a lesson that quickly assures us stewardship is more than just a matter of money. No, it's a principle . . . one we can apply to our use of time, our care for the environment, and how often we floss our teeth.

All true -- but in the process, we've deftly managed to avoid all those hard and nasty texts that talk about money.
  • Like the Bible's laws forbidding usury -- laws that suggest God was extremely interested in the way we earn our money.
  • Then there's tithe -- a subject that suggests God was extremely interested in the way we spend our money.
  • And when you add the fact that the Biblical "Year of Jubilee" required God's people to routinely write-off any loans they'd made to the poor . . .
Then it's easy to understand why some of us would like to change the subject!

To be sure, the Bible does support old-fashioned capitalist values such as hard-work and thrift -- but it also values relationships more than riches, generosity more than getting ahead, and a healthy community more than personal gain.

So what does this mean to people who are picking a career? Buying a house? Or planning for retirement?

Well . . . at the very least, it suggests that maybe we should try to overcome our reluctance to talk about money.

Even if we'd rather talk about something else.

When it comes to stewardship, after all, our problem is not just the principle.

No, there's also a lack of interest.

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