Continuing with the escape from cultural Christianity, Morley covers "Money: The Treasure Test."
It is hard for me to believe, but Nanette and I were attending adult Sunday school together over twenty years ago. That class was one of the reasons that church has been such an integral part of our lives. Robert was one of the other men in the class. He was an officer at a savings and loan. Those were not "good times" for the S&L industry. The wheels were falling off fast. There was no such thing as job security. One week, though, he shared an experience with us that has continued to influence me.
One of Robert's large borrowers was in financial distress. He wanted to pay his debts, but knew he could not cover everything with the lowered income that he was experiencing. He needed to find places to reduce spending until he could increase his income, so he prepared a proposal and presented it to the S&L. Robert was on the board and was involved in considering the proposal. One of the line items on that proposal was 10% for the borrower's tithe. Another member of the board immediately scratched a line through that part and said, "Well, that's the first to go." Heads nodded all around the table--but not Robert's. Although times were hard for the S&L, and even though he knew it would erode the little job security that he had, Robert said, "No. That line stays. It shows that this man has set his priorities in the right place." There was some heated discussion, but Robert prevailed that day. The tithe stayed.
I have often wondered if I would have presented the proposal that the borrower did. If I were in so much financial distress with large enough debts that the board of a bank would review my individual proposal, would they see my tithe on the list? I have wondered just as often whether I would have had the strength of character to stand up for that line item the way that Robert did. How would you have handled it?
The borrower showed where his treasure is. Robert showed where his treasure is. Their example inspires me to focus on the true treasure--the treasure of God's kingdom.
Morley follows the money in his first test for determining where our hearts lie. If we each follow our money trail, what does it tell us?
Dear Lord, you have blessed me so much. You have given me wealth and comfort. Be with me and guide me each time that I put your blessings to use. May every action be a reflection of my gratitude to you. Help me to appreciate the treasures in heaven that you have for me. Let me be eager so use my worldly resources to lay up heavenly treasures, and let my actions inspire others to do the same. Amen.
Grace and peace--