Financial Hard Knocks
“He began to feel the pinch.”
That’s the way one Bible translation describes the distress of the Prodigal Son when, after quickly spending through his handsome inheritance, he realized he was out of money in a foreign land, with no means of support.
Most – perhaps all – of us know that feeling to some degree at least – a point in our lives where we just don’t have enough money to cover all the things we need. We feel the pinch. We look for ways to earn a bit more money. We try to economize, reduce expenses, defer expenses, or borrow.
Now, almost all of us at St. Dunstan’s are affluent, by any meaningful standard. Maybe we haven’t felt the pinch for a long time. Nationwide statistics tell us how high our incomes are.
But we are also caught up in a crazy culture of expectations – we expect to be able to live well, to travel, to go to the best schools, to keep up with the neighbor’s new Beamer…whatever it is. It’s not easy to sustain all that. And perhaps at some level, we realize that our lives could change dramatically if something bad happened – we lost our job, we had a medical disaster. They say that most of us aren’t many paychecks away from real financial crisis.
But God’s view of the world – God’s economy - is very different from ours. God doesn’t care about extravagant lifestyles. God loves all of us the same, regardless of wealth. In scripture God asks us to live modestly, to make sure the poor have enough to eat, a roof over their heads, medical care. Jesus tells us to give when people beg for help. God is concerned about the welfare of the community, not the wealth of the individual.
Sunday we’ll look at our honest, real anxieties about money these days, and see what God’s economy would look like if God’s Kingdom did come “on earth as it is in heaven.” JBM