Thursday, May 17, 2007

A SACRAMENTAL USE OF MONEY

In Dissenter in a Great Society, William Stringfellow offers a constructive commentary on the use of money:

A SIGN OF THE RESTORATION OF LIFE. “Freedom from the idolatry of money, for a Christian, means that money becomes useful only as a sacrament—as a sign of the restoration of life wrought in this world by Christ. If, in worship, human beings offer themselves and all of their decisions, actions, and words to God, it is well that they used money as the witness to that offering. The sacramental use of money in the formal and gathered worship of the church is authenticated, as are all churchly sacramental practices, in the sacramental use of money in the common life of the world.”

FREEDOM FROM THE IDOLATRY MONEY. “The consistent mark of such a commitment of money is a person’s freedom from idolatry of money. That includes not simply freedom from moral dependence upon the pursuit, acquisition, or accumulation of money for the sake of justifying oneself or ones conduct or actions or opinions, either to oneself or to somebody else. It means the freedom to have money, to use money, to spend money without worshiping money, and thus it means the freedom to do without money, if need be, or, having some, to give it away to anyone who seems to need money to maintain life a while longer.”

NOT MY OWN. “The charity of Christians in the use of money sacramentally has no serious similarity to conventional charity but is always a specific dramatization of the members of the Body of Christ losing their life in order that the world be given life. For the members of the church, therefore, it always implies a particular confession that their money is not their own because their lives are not their own, but by the example of God's own love, belong to the world.”

GIVING AWAY THE GIFT OF LIFE. “That one’s own life belongs to the world, that one’s money and possessions, talents and time, influence and wealth, all belong to the whole world is, I trust, why the saints are habitu├ęs of poverty and ministers to the outcasts, friends of the humiliated and, commonly, unpopular themselves. Contrary to many legends, the saints are not spooky figures, morally superior, abstentious, pietistic. In truth, all human beings are called to be saints, but that just means called to be fully human, to be perfect that is, whole, mature, fulfilled. The saints are simply those men and women who relish the event of life as a gift and who realize that the only way to honor such a gift is to give it away.”

2 comments:

  1. God help us let go of the money to which we so tightly cling! What would the world look like if we gave God the freedom to meet our needs instead of meeting them ourselves?

    I'm more and more impressed by Stringfellow...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes. God, help us. God, help me! Help me risk trust in You to meet my needs, our needs, the older we get. Amen.

    ReplyDelete

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