I’ve been thinking about the complex threads in the Bible related to money and wealth. I’ve heard people make simplistic statements like, “God wants you to be rich,” and “rich people are selfish.” In fact, the Scriptures are filled with people, both rich and poor, whom God uses and blesses.
I came across a recent book, Everything the Bible Says about Money, (Bethany House, 2011). It’s 125 pages (mostly biblical text, a little comment). It’s an evangelical publication, organized by topic. I’ve just begun a practice of lectio divina, of reflective reading, using the texts from this book as a way of starting, to meditatively read scripture passages about money. I’m not sure where this practice will take me, but my own goal is to be free (or at least freer) in relation to money. I’ve made progress in this direction through practices such as writing down every day first thing five things I’m grateful for from the day before. And remembering daily how very rich my life is in so many ways, materially and otherwise, and that I have more resources than most people who have ever lived.
The first day I used the passage where Jesus says “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The phrase that struck me, for the first time ever, was Jesus’ words, “show me the coin used for the tax.” I got the idea for a practice of showing Jesus all my coins – bringing all my financial transactions under his scrutiny. I’ve begun a practice of recording income and expenditures daily, just for five minutes, lighting a candle as a spiritual practice before I do it. It’s very different to do this with a spiritual perspective rather than simply a practical task, and to do it daily rather than saving it up for a week or a month.
So often we separate out our finances and our spiritual life. I’m trying out some ways to bring them together every day, not just when I decide on what I will give or write a check to church.