I was eating dinner last night with someone who said she was leaving her church because it had become too “political.” Indeed, religious institutions including the Catholic Church often are accused of veering inappropriately into political and economic matters that are considered too far outside the scope of their spiritual expertise. Abortion, immigration, climate change, and other hot button social issues frequently are considered off limits, and religious leaders who delve too deeply into these areas are accused of bad taste for not staying “in their lane.”
Pope Francis, for instance, was sorely criticized by free market economists for his comments on capitalism in Laudato Si’ (On Care For Our Common Home). A few years ago, I received some negative feedback from a few parishioners when we studied global hunger as a parish Lenten project. We asked you to consider writing a letter to your government representative about the problem and some people did not think that was appropriate.
Personal finances is one such highly-charged area. To preach on any aspect of money is often compared to hitting below the belt, as if the Sunday morning atmosphere somehow would been sullied by mixing the sacred with the “profane.”
Yet, money is a major topic in the Bible, and according to an article in Preaching Today magazine, Jesus spoke about money frequently. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions, and one out of ten verses (288 in all) in the gospels deal directly with the subject of money. In fact, money and possessions are the second most referenced topic in the Bible.
“I get my financial guidance from the Bible,” writes Peter Grandich, author of Confessions of a Wall Street Whiz Kid. Grandich, who says his years as a highly successful Wall Street stockbroker left him spiritually depleted and clinically depressed, claims that Scripture is an excellent financial adviser, whether or not you’re religious (Forbes, “Is the Bible the Ultimate Financial Guide?” May 24, 2012).
The book of Proverbs in the Bible, for example, offers a great deal of wisdom and practical instruction for living, including financial management. In our summer message series called, Foolproof, we’re taking some time to examine a number of these key proverbs that will give you important insight and help you succeed in life. And over a hundred of these wise sayings deal with some aspect of money.
Join us this week on Sunday morning or listen online to our message about the wealth of wisdom contained in the biblical proverbs when it comes to handling money and finances. In the message for this week, we will look at some of the core principles necessary to win with money. They include working hard in order to earn honest wealth, giving generously to God and to the poor, saving little by little rather than counting on windfalls, avoiding debt, and keeping track of your money.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson