The parable that Jesus taught about the rich fool clearly teaches us the danger of greed. The rich man makes provisions for a self-centered life of pleasure. God, however, demands his soul just as he is beginning to carry out his plan. One must understand that the end of this life is unpredictable. The kingdom of God will be eternal. A wise person, therefore, will become rich in what matters to God. Jesus is not condemning possessions and prudent planning as such but wants the kingdom of God to have priority in a person’s life. For the disciple of Jesus, then, one issue seems to be how to cultivate an attitude toward money as a means and not as an end. People on the way to holiness seem to have a healthy attitude about money, dealing with it in a balanced way. Some people I’ve talked to explain what they do. Tithing seems to be a frequent way of maintaining some sort of balance—ten percent off the top of one’s income. People who tithe seem to remember the poor in more than a token way. Some people say they don’t use credit cards precisely to keep them from spending sprees. Others spoke to the question of owning stocks. Some refuse to do so simply because they know it would become one more anxiety in their life. A middle-aged priest said that at the end of every calendar year he emptied his checking and savings accounts. He said he thought it good to begin each year at zero. Now, as a priest, he has pretty good job security, but it is still a decision full of faith on his part. Another person said he had decided what a responsible amount of savings would be for retirement and other needs. Everything over and above he gives away. Someone else decided to live by needs rather than by wants and tried to be attentive to her inclination to shift items from the latter category to the former. In mentioning these things, I am not recommending any of them. Certainly, for most people there is nothing wrong with credit cards or stocks. These are simply examples of what some people have decided to do to put the kingdom first. It doesn’t really matter how we keep a balance about money or how we make sure we use money wisely as disciples. What matters is that we do so, if for no other reason than to make sure that we care for the weakest among us, and to make sure we keep trust in our God and not in ourselves.
Are you rich in what matters to God?
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