Deut 7-9; Phil 3; Psalm 119:33-48
Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’
But how often we do.
The plain fact of the matter is this, that most of us who read, and indeed I who write, these words are affluent, and over and over the Scriptures warn us of the perils of wealth. And the primary warning is found here in Deuteronomy – that we begin to believe that we are the creators of our own life. Wealth gives us ‘power’ to build the lives we want – to avoid community and the necessity that that brings. It gives us the ‘power’ to choose- and as our deep story tells us, as humans we do not choose well.
The question is this, though, if we have not gained what we have by our efforts – how have we gained it? If we did not get it ourselves, then to whom does it really belong.
Yesterday we read that most beautiful Christological hymn, that God is Kenotic, self emptying – the riches of the Life of God are poured out – he becomes nothing. If we have wealth, then perhaps if we are made in his image, truly we best reveal this to be true in not calling anything our own, not ‘grasping’ or holding on to it, but allowing it to flow freely for the good of all. As St John says, ‘We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.’
The Word of the Primal Sin is ‘Mine!’ – to live by the Spirit is to say ‘Yours and yours and yours and yours’ For NOTHING we have by right have we except by God’s Grace – we are all invited to live in that Grace, in deed.