I watched “I Love Lucy” this morning. In that episode, the Ricardos decide to sell their washing machine to Fred and Ethel Mertz. As most episodes have a minor but comedic crisis, the washing machine breaks and the Mertzes try to return the machine to the Ricardos. A repairman offers to buy the machine for more than they estimated the value to be, and then suddenly both parties decide the machine was theirs to sell. They end up on the balcony between their units, both fighting over the machine. As they pull and argue over the machine and the money associated with it, their careless fighting causes the machine to topple off the balcony, and it is ruined. The episode of course ends with the couples reconciling and laughing over their petty concerns over money. Lucy notes, “Oh, how silly… I knew nothing could affect our friendship.”
We focus so much on money in our culture. I looked for Bible verses about money and a Google search had over 200 million results for me to consider. Jesus does not go as far as Paul does in saying definitively that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), but Jesus is clear that money should not be the focus. Jesus was pretty clear that the kingdom of God is about relationships, about love, and about the redeeming power of God. This is why Jesus rebuked his disciples for paying attention to the money/resource ‘wasted’ when the woman poured perfume on his feet (Mark 14 – interestingly, this chapter also describes how Judas agreed to hand Jesus over for money). Jesus encouraged those who loved money to share it all (Matthew 19), and noted that those who want to be first will be last, adding that it is very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven – but allowing that God can make all things possible (Mark 10).
I am so thankful for the Loaves and Fishes Leadership council’s commitment to much prayer, time, thought, conversation, and dedication to the discernment process. I am also thankful for their good and whole proposal in how to handle this money that has come to us. My prayer is that during this time for feedback and conversation with the larger church community, that we remember not to focus on the money, the prestige that can come with it, or what others will think of us. May we not be ensnared by the desire to control the money, lest we send the washing machine over the balcony, argue amongst ourselves, or chastise those we are called to be in relation with. I pray this, because I know Jesus has said that all things are possible with God, and Jesus encourages us to not worry for what the nations worry about, but to “instead seek God’s kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:31-32).
By Mary Rodriguez
Member of the Royal Gramma Prayer School