So I sat next to a man from Croatia at dinner. He is a lawyer and also runs a house church movement. And he has a wife and children. He and his friend were utterly delightful and very funny. After eating our dinners, we moved to several subjects, the last of which was money.
“I know I’m not living right,” he said, “when I wake up and my first thought is what I have to do.” He shook his head. “It should be Jesus, not tasks.”
I have woken up way too many times than I’d like to admit when my first thought is not “Good morning Jesus,” but “What is on my list?”
He spoke of the necessity of reprioritizing, of letting Jesus be his first thought after waking.
Then he tried to quote a scripture to me, but he couldn’t remember it in English. So he grabbed his Bible while I shared. “I want to be free of worrying about money,” I said. I told him about our time in France when we lost our house and walked through foreclosure, how uncannily peaceful I was during that time. For a few years, I stopped worrying about it. “And then, after four years back in the states, it’s crept up on me. I don’t want to live that way anymore.”
He located the scripture. “It’s in Luke.”
I opened my Bible to the very chapter and verse without him telling me. Odd that my eyes touched the verse before he told me it was Luke 14:33. After I read that verse, I puzzled over why I hadn’t remembered it. Maybe I selectively disregarded it.
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
That I have?
Surely, Jesus, you must mean things like giving up an ipod, or skipping a meal.
Renounce all that I have.
In the holy circle between the Croatian lawyer and me, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, nudging me toward renunciation, toward freedom, away from worry and fretting and being consumed with consuming–things, money, time, tasks.
I want to wake up with Jesus on my mind.
Earlier I found this scripture: “‘Ah stubborn children, declares the Lord, who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my spirit that they may add sin to sin, who set to go down to Egypt without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of pharoah and to seek shelter and in the shadow of Egypt . . . Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her Rahab who sits still.” Isaiah 30:1-2
Egypt is a place of shelter, of stability, of knowing you’re protected.
Money is a place of shelter, of stability, of knowing you’re protected.
Rahab was a harlot who helped God’s people. But a Rahab who sat still remains just a harlot.
The question for me (and maybe you?) is how am I clinging to shelter, stability, protection? How am I making money my mistress? How am I worshiping money over the God of the universe? And how am I carrying out a plan without God? How am I making an alliance with wealth instead of the Holy Spirit? So many questions. So much repentance needed. Oh dear Lord.