Remember back when you could afford and willingly deposited your hard-earned cash into a savings account for use in years to come. It may have been a 401K or similar financial instrument offered by your employer. After a few years in a regular market scenario, you begin to observe your money has grown. You put the statement away for another quarter and hope the market goes up.
Now reflect on the words of the Gospel this week for a short time. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms.’”
Give the kingdom with the hitch of selling all I have and give away all my cash to the poor? Not a monthly payment when you reach 70 years old, but the whole kingdom of God for all eternity! Why are you so hesitant to sign up for this life insurance plan? Why would you doubt whether it is a good deal? Why don’t you hesitate with your retirement account in the same way as you hesitate now? Perhaps, it too great of a request, kingdom or not. Scripture again gives us a lesson of life “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be.”
Obviously, Jesus’ words are meant to be taken literally, but they are not hyperbolic either. Our Jesus can’t ask every person to become penniless because children need to be fed and educated. What Jesus’ words do mean is there has to be a proportion in our life when it comes to money. Life should not center upon money, but unfortunately for many it does. The amount of time and emotion in acquiring and keeping the almighty dollar is far too high for people who proclaim to be Christians.
Placed in a proper portion, there is a stark realization that what awaits all who believe is all of our efforts in accumulating money will be useless. So why are we less likely to trust in God’s promise, and more apt to believe the words of the major banks or mutual funds? We have placed an enormous amount of trust in these institutions, almost a lifetime of adult trust, that our money is safe and be made accessible when we want. But there is one condition, we don’t know how long we will live and when we will be called from this life. No one truly knows his future. Jesus explains, “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” All our efforts of becoming well off will definitely become a moot point.
What Jesus is challenging us to do this week is to question ourselves and ask whether we have as much trust in his promises as we do with our saved funds. To trust Jesus means we live lives with the expectation that today or tomorrow could be our last day. When we do, the constant love of money is placed in proper proportion. It has a place in life but it shouldn’t rule our lives. The trust in Jesus’ promises also means we have faith in God’s providence, meaning we do not know exactly what the future will hold, but through faith have a certain hope God will be with us and help us. For those who don’t believe, they endlessly try and mold their own futures– always ending in failure.
St. Paul in the letter to the Hebrews teaches how we can trust that God has our back in the future. He does this by recanting the story of Abraham and Sarah. Neither Abraham nor his wife Sarah knew what the future would hold, but trusted in God. How at her age could she conceive? Where was this promised land to which they were being led as strangers? Yet they were sustained by their faith in God’s promises to them, and became part of the salvation history of the Jewish people.
Our world, our lives are unpredictable, our futures unknown. We can never have absolute certainty neither about what will come or what we can expect. We want so many things; we treasure so many things. How can we stand ready for the unknown?
The answer is simple.
“Fear not, little flock, it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.” Only in his love can we be safe to love, be generous and at peace, for our future is already covered.