Confession is an art. It must be practiced to be mastered. Every insult and rumor and back-stab committed brings both a consequence and an opportunity. The consequence will change but the opportunity remains the same. The chance to confess.No pretenses.
This multi-part series will present some personal and corporate confessions I’d like to make. See my first confession: I’m Judgmental
The Pope agrees with me
So, come to find out, Pope Francis has been pondering confession as well. Here’s what he had to say today on Twitter: @pontifex
Confessing our sins may be difficult for us, but it brings us peace. We are sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 18, 2013
Great minds think alike!
Today I want to confess my sin of mis-prioritizing money over people. It is a terrible choice to place anything over relationships, but to make money a priority people is downright sinful.
Here’s how the order of creation went… Heaven, Earth, light, dark, expanse between sky and water, ground, seas, vegetation, stars, sun, moon, birds, fish, land animals, mankind (man then woman).
He didn’t create money. He didn’t establish an economic system. He didn’t misprioritize his creation. The climax of the symphony of creation was people. Raw, naked, wonderfully made people.
And then God, as if to make a point about what he cherished most, said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” (Gen 1:26). In his likeness and image! No animal, plant, or star was created to be like God.
Does money matter?
I grew up as a pastor’s kid. Pastors don’t make a lot of money. I don’t remember my parents every fighting about money, but it was understood that there wasn’t enough to get a new school wardrobe every year. 5 kids, one income; budgeting is very important. We were taught to tithe and save, but one thing I didn’t let sink to my core was how to balance the need for money and how to love people in light of my finances.
Here’s how low I can get, as a human, in terms of my love of money.
Sometimes I’ll decide on whether or not to visit family, who lives an hour away, by what gas will cost. It’s hard to write those words. It hurts to say that I picked staying home because it would require $12 in gas, round trip, to hang out with family for a few hours.
However, if you offer to pay for my meal or ticket, I’ll decline because I let me pride about money get in the way. I’ll say, “No,” for a few gross reasons. “I should be able to pay for myself,” is one I’ll often tell myself or, “I appreciate them offering, but I can afford it.” So I’ll decline for selfish purposes, trying to convince myself of my self-sufficiency. Which is rather stockholm syndromey, isn’t it.
So here’s my problem. Money is good, and is needed to live; but I’ll put money in front of people, which essentially makes it a god. The only way I see this habit changing is by being around people who love people more than money. Let me introduce you to one of those people.
Good friends make you good
I have a friend named Jason. You can find him on the internet @jasonhunt. He’s a bit of a goofball, but one thing that cannot be taken from ever is his generosity.
Jason’s love language is gift-giving. Jason knows his friends well and loves them by giving gifts that are meaningful and encouraging and occasionally quite opulent. For the most part in our friendship Jason and I would buy each other coffee back and forth (because I couldn’t let him buy everytime), but every once in a while he would surprise me with a gift that would blow me away.
One year for my birthday Jason bought me a mini-season ticket package for a minor league baseball team. It was incredible. I love baseball, so to be able to attend 19 games over the season was a huge gift. I’m sure it cost him a lot.
Jason loved me so much that he picked loving me over keeping his money. And believe me, Jason has a lot of things he would like to buy. One of which, he did eventually get, was a laser “light saber.” Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
In my time living in proximity to Jason I learned so much about how to love people with money. A surprise gift, a trip to lunch, or being the carpool driver were all ways that Jason showed me how to care for God’s most important creation financially.
I confess my sins of the love of money. I’m sorry to friends and family that have taken the back seat to my selfish idolization of green paper. I’m sorry, God, for making financial security a priority over you and the people you love so much you gave your son for.
It won’t be an easy change. But when that little devil whispers in my ear to avoid relationships due to money, I’ll remember people like Jason who have shown me the importance of loving people in light of whatever financial situation I am in.
Money comes and goes every two week pay cycle. People are here to stay.
Now, who wants to go out for coffee? On me.