I’ve spoken about money before, in regard to truth, and love. I wrote about the threat that the lack of it can put pressure on how we wield love in the world, https://maryfrancesflood.com/2019/02/02/love-and-money/ Of all the difficult lessons in my lifetime, that wasn’t the hardest I am content to say. Looking at the relationship between power and money, though, has been demonstrably more difficult. My family has faced tremendous challenges in the last many months, like many others have as well. The challenge for me, in this year of understanding power, is to become aware of and utilize a kind of power that only comes when the power that money yields, whether it is status, stability, fulfilling all the necessities, demands and obligations of life are temporarily at a standstill. Humbling as though it may appear, I never put my self worth into fiscal terms. But when separating the wheat from the chaff (money being the chaff, in my mind), there are other clear sources of power present.
There are few things more powerful than the true power of friendship (including family) that rises up when need is at its greatest and when the reciprocal nature of true friendship is demonstrably one sided. The power that comes with being surrounded with unconditional love keeps me going (also my own small family, but I’m only speaking for myself here). Not to sound disrespectful to those who extended prayers, they are another source of great power and are always welcome, but I am speaking about the tangible and physical presence of those who show up to aid and comfort in the trenches. More importantly, for me anyway, are those who respond without having to be asked (which I suck at). I am still able to channel that power forward to continue on my path.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address the power of my own “talents” too. Sometimes, the greatest fruits come out of difficulty. I won’t be specific, but I surprised myself at my ability to adapt to horrible circumstances with my wit, problem solving skills, and commitment in tact. The world outside may not underestimate my abilities, but I certainly did…but for today at least, I am speaking in the past tense. I also rely quite heavily on a passage in Luke where Jesus tells the people that the Kingdom of God isn’t observed but is in and around us. Jesus chastises us in the Gospel of Matthew about worry. especially in regard to money, as well:
15 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
16 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? 17
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
18 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil
I think that’s why Jesus is so harsh about the relationship humanity has with money, and with God. Like fear and love, they are often mutually exclusive. If you are going to embrace Christianity, this is its most essential tenet: either the power of money drives you, or God…it can’t be both. As much I can say I’ve always understood that concept cognitively, in this year of understanding power, I have to understand it in a multidimensional perspective and while it seems money has no power, the lack of it certainly does. Today, I step around that power and choose God