Posts Tagged ‘money’

It’s All About Trust

July 11, 2016

Once upon a time I was entrusted with thousands of dollars from two soccer referee associations. There were few checks and balances. That always bothered me. This is not a confession. I was careful with the money. But one of my colleagues many years ago made off with tens of thousands of dollars before it came to light.

There’s a lot of cash floating around in our economy. Much of it flows to organizations that operate with volunteer leadership. The New York Times recently ran an article about people who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their youth sports clubs. It can happen in churches, service clubs, school support organizations.

These are trusted people. But they got into personal financial trouble. Often due to gambling. Sometime personal circumstances–divorce, lost job, medical bills.

Leadership begins with trust. But trust must be earned again every day.

Every story of leadership and leadership theory I read has trust as the foundation–whether explicitly stated or not.

It goes deeper. I’ve talked with many people in the aftermath of affairs. Many of those don’t realize the damage done to their trustworthiness. See, it’s not just money, but when you are trusted in a relationship, too.

How would you like to have a job like a policeman where you have trouble trusting anyone? With all the guns carried openly, how are they to know if they can trust that the gun won’t be turned on them? Or us, when we see the guns around?

You’d like to trust everyone. Many of us grew up in small towns where trust was the cement that held the society together.

I’d hate to live life as a cynic, distrusting everyone. On the other hand, if I’m in an organization, I would want to see trust with oversight. Just to be responsible.

Moral Obligation To Justice

September 2, 2015

I hate blatant misrepresentation of Scripture.

Hate is a strong word, and I am a person of few, if any, hates. But when someone twists a story told by Jesus to wring all meaning from it save some sort of self-serving, political interpretation–well, I hate it. That sort of thing makes disciples look bad all over the globe.

A friend of mine posted one of the pictures that is the dominant theme of Facebook these days (both right and left, religious and pagan). His “picture” was of Pope Francis with a saying about the moral imperative of economic justice.

Someone whom I assume is a friend of my friend ripped the thought and suggested the Pope should read Matthew 20 (OK, arrogance knows no bounds). This is a story about a vineyard owner who decided to pay the laborers who worked 1 hour the same as those who worked all day.

“This shows that I can do with my money whatever I want,” the guy proclaimed.

Unless we missed the message that God has returned to Earth physically and inhabits the body of this guy, we need to take another look at the passage.

The meaning has nothing whatsoever to do with me and my money. It is a parable about God. God is the owner of the vineyard. “For the kingdom of heaven is like….” If God wishes to save people at the very end of their lives the same as those who have been disciples their entire lives, well, God can do what God wants to do. After all, he is, er, God.

Jesus really only gave us two commandments. Unfortunately for us, they are not easy to live out every day. Love God. Love our neighbor.

Which of those two tell us that we can do whatever we wish with our money? Or even says that it is our money to begin with?

So, I’m reading Proverbs 26 this week. Which of these am I doing?

Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself.

Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.

Where Your Heart Is

February 28, 2014

Did you see the pictures coming from the Ukraine this week about the way the ruling elite lived? The personal palace of the guy who was President for really only a short period of time? Some members of Parliament?

Maybe because I wrote some thoughts about materialism on Monday I’m more sensitive to more news about it. The Ukraine is not a poor country in the ways of some really impoverished countries are, but even in those the leaders seem to be able to amass fortunes and live in luxury.

And it’s not just there. Especially since World War II, think of how many people go off to Washington, D.C. to “serve the people” as middle class citizens and leave as wealthy, entitled people.

And it doesn’t stop there. Have you ever worked in corporations where not just the top guy or top level are enriching themselves but also managers all the way down are figuring out ways to beat the system and grab some perks or additional money.

Preachers are not immune. Even volunteers serving local organizations succumb to the temptation to use their positions to enrich themselves.

How can these people spend so much time cultivating friends and figuring out ways to enrich themselves while supposedly working for the betterment of the people who entrust them?

Well, it must be in the heart. Jesus warned us–we cannot serve two masters. And if we choose the wrong master, we will not live in eternal life. Justice is usually served to the greedy ones. But even if not in a civil sense, it is in a spiritual sense. And it is life in the Spirit that matters.

None of us are immune to the temptation. The scale may be different, but the heart is the same. We cannot serve both God and money. What do our lives say about our choice?