Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Would Jesus Say?

The last couple of weeks have shown us what a mixture of greed, fear and panic can do to the world. I was watching CNN at lunch as a famous psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz said that now is the time for everyone to take a step back and reprioritize their lives and ask questions like "what is really important to me?" and "can I live on less?".

The Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune had a front page article about how happiness is not dependent on wealth. It went on to give suggestions on how to have "psychological wealth." They were-
  1. Invest in relationships
  2. Take care of your physical and mental health
  3. Embrace spirituality (connect with something bigger than yourself)
  4. Be engaged (in what you do or find something to fully engage in)
  5. Adjust your attitude (it's not about the benjamins)
Great advice, and not really new. It made me wonder "what would Jesus say?" As I have been reflecting on this financial crisis and studied for a couple of messages I've given, I have turned my focus to Jesus' famous sermon on the mount in Matthew 6. It gives us timeless truth about taking a temporal versus eternal perspective on our possessions.

After Jesus teaches us how to pray, he turns to money and anxiety. Cliffnotes on what he says-
  1. "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (vs. 20- it's the best return on investment and you can't take money with you)
  2. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (vs. 21- He knows that our weakness is consumption which will not last and will wear away at the soul)
  3. "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (vs. 22-23- how we view "things" is important. Do we see them as blessings from God to bless others with or more stuff that we need. The former gives light to us, the latter shuts it out causing an eclipse in our hearts.)
  4. "You cannot serve both God and Money." (vs. 24- In God we trust? Or is our trust in our bank account?
  5. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life" (vs. 26,27- worry does a body BAD and it reveals our lack of trust in God)
  6. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (vs. 33- it's all his in the first place, we're just taking care of it)
Ancient wisdom for modern this is how to live The Good Life even when times are bad!