Just recently I received a church pledge letter that included the phrase “money is a spiritual matter.”
I am troubled by any statement that equates money and the spiritual. Jesus is pretty clear when he comments on the legitimacy of his followers paying taxes. His command is to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. He’s pretty clear that God’s Kingdom, the Spiritual Kingdom, is not built with money, nor with material things.
He’s also pretty clear that we cannot serve two masters, for if we do, we will love one and hate the other. I take this to mean that those who would redeem the world with money live in the world, not the spirit. Those who want the world of the spirit must use the tools of the spirit.
Clearly it’s a choice we are free to make, but we should note that these are different and competitive worlds, not mutually supportive ones, for they represent two different masters.
As we enter this Easter season, this tension between money and spirit helps me understand why Caesar’s world wanted Jesus dead. It also suggests to me why the Christian churches seem to be fading.
They have come to think that money is a spiritual, rather than a material matter.