trusting the peanuts

22 09 2010

Somehow Jesus has got a reputation for being all about a wishy washy inoffensive kind of love that strokes kittens, opens doors for old ladies and is about as powerful as a doormat. Not quite what he had in mind when he challenged ordinary people that lust is as bad as adultery and anger as bad as murder. What he had in mind was something altogether more powerful, more challenging, more distinctive. A revolution of holiness that wasn’t all about outward signs and climbing ladders of loveliness but radical change that began at the heart – in the heart – and moved slowly outwards. Not the other way around. And when we are changed that change affects everything and one of the least popular things to change is the way we handle money.

Jesus shows us that the way we see money and possessions shows us where our love is. And the principles are the same for those on bankers bonuses or income support. How we handle money shows how deeply our hearts have been changed. You cannot serve god but be held captive by desire for money and possessions on the side; neither can you serve money and try to placate God by a little church attendance or some loose change on the side. And yet…

if you are fiddling books or benefits or buying dodgy goods…
you are still loved
.

if you are grasping and clutching for more things so much that they define who you are…
you are still loved
.

if you are simply being tight with your money…
you are still loved.

if you are involved in adultery, or prostitution, or bullying, or abuse, or petty crime, or anger…
you are still loved
.

But you must change. We must change.


Although we struggle and we fail, although we like our possessions and we might fiddle the benefits or the books, there is always, always room for grace. That doesn’t mean that God is nice and turns a blind eye and we all breathe a sigh of relief – no, it means when we stop what we are doing and when we repent, turn around, there is total forgiveness. Hard choices. Distinctive choices.

How much better to fall fully into the loving arms of God, to know that he sees everything and you don’t have to try and hide things like the toddler who hides the chocolate behind his back thinking mummy can’t see, forgetting about the mess around his lips? Because God is love. Distinctive love. God’s love challenges our deepest desires and means that we cannot help but be distinctive in the way we are with our money, from the  ‘murky city‘ to the struggling family.

As faith begins as a mustard seed so trust begins with peanuts.

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2 responses

22 09 2010
c2drl

Isn’t it a sing of the times that we just cannot understand love. We think that we have to earn it, and if we aren’t good enough we won’t be loved. I don’t love my children because they have earnt it, they haven’t actually! I love them because of who they are – they are my children. So it is with God.

The trouble is we have the transaction culture firmly in our mind. I will help you if you will help me. I will love you if you are good to me. God will love me if I am good enough. i can earn forgiveness by working hard in the Church for God.

And of course this brings us back to the peanuts. Because we all bring this “ethic” to our relationships and are out to ‘make’ it from others. Whether its Bankers ripping off their customers, drug companies pushing out drugs that aren’t properly tested, local authorities letting down schoolchildren or trade unions holding customers to ransom. And we become suspicious and don’t trust others, and they think well they don’t trust us anyway and so the spiral continues downwards.

You are right, what we and the world need is a transforming of our minds. Only God, in the power of his Spirit can do that. Come Lord Jesus and start with … him? or Me?

23 09 2010
Kevin

Yes, and hopefully this is where we can be distinctive. Not just how we spend our money but how we invest it, and how we love it… how we balance the power it has over us with the power God has to change us and change the world. There is always hope…!

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