I think it was in the first couple seasons of The Apprentice that they always played the, “Money, money, money” song that played at the beginning. In looking at the lectionary texts this week, I actually liked them all. But I’ve mostly been in Hebrews lately and I have never really preached it very much so I decided to stick with there.
The text is Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 and it’s a lot of instruction and wise counsel. Mike and I have been watching The Tudors recently. We’ve finished season 1 and have begun season 2. Wow. In so many ways times have changed! It is amazing to me how far the rights of women have come from those days. Mike spends much of the shows saying, “They were really like that?” Sadly, yes. There’s a ton of lies, betrayal, power hungry insanity, and since it’s on Showtime – sex. Wow is it crazy. We’ve been watching an episode a night and I think that’s the main reason I was drawn to this tet.
This passage is the absolute opposite of this royal debauchery. It talks about showing hospitality to strangers, remembering those in prison, marriage being held in honor and then closing out with “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” These are very different instructions than how the Tudors acted even though they loved to throw the name of God and what “God’s will” is around all over the place.
It speaks a great deal to us all. In reading this earlier in the week and in thinking on it the past couple days, the part about money wasn’t something that leaped out to me anymore than the rest of it. Then this morning I go to our biannual Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry meeting and I find out that not only will we at Winthrop Wesley Foundation not receive any program money for 2011 as we were told a week and a half ago, but now we are no longer going to receive any other program funds for the rest of 2010. So no check coming in September in the thankful income column, but plenty of expenses still going out. Eek! is about the most nice, censored thing I can say…
But then tonight I read this text again abd I see verse 5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.'” I don’t know if I would say I loved the program money we received from the conference. In actuality it only made up 15% of our program money receipts. But I would definitely say that I depended on it. In the lean months when nothing from churches or sweet giving folks is coming in, I knew that we would receive that money from the Annual Conference and we could pay the light bill. And that is a very good thing. So although I don’t know if I “loved” the money we got, I was incredibly thankful we received it.
But you know times they are a changing, and we live in a different world and economic time. So it is what it is and it’s now time to move forward and trust that God is with us and will provide for us. We step out in faith and trust that God will provide. The semester is planned and commitments made and we’ll see how it all works out in the midst. I trust that it will. No amount of stressing is going to help, but boy it’s time to shake the bushes and get some money raised!
Again, God amazes me in giving us the Word we need when we need it. Even in the midst of the unknown and the uncertainty and the obvious fear, there are tremendous opportunities and new and bold paths to explore and step out in. I am weary thinking about the work ahead, but I’m excited to see new partners in ministry and the chance to vision anew as we as always try to do more, with less.
Money. Power. Intrigue. Definitely more the world of the Tudors than campus ministry. But hey – we all need a little instruction and reminders about where our hearts need to be and who are faith is in. Still not sure what I’m preaching about tomorrow exactly, but often this sound instruction speaks for itself.