40-Day Challenge: Wealth (Day 35)

Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.

“A man’s wealth is measured by what he doesn’t need.” Henry David Thoreau

  This past summer, Craig’s parents sent the four of us to Mackinac Island for the Grand Hotel’s spectacular July 4th Extravaganza. It was an unbelievably generous gift, from the suite overlooking the lake and pool to the nonstop food and entertainment packed into every minute of the day.

Some of the entertainment we provided ourselves: We hadn’t been on the island an hour when Chris and his friend Jacob tested the efficiency of the hotel security staff (followed by the local constabulary), who searched for the boys for two solid hours until the boys wandered back onto the hotel property. Even when Chris’ mud-stained  bike shorts besmirched the pristine loveseat in the manager’s office, his smile never waivered. “Enjoy your stay!”

Money — both the possession of it, and the lack thereof — can change relationships, even within families. Sadly, having it can cause even more difficulties than not having it. Some of the most generous and genuinely kindhearted people I’ve ever met were desperately poor.  On the other hand, money can also create unnecessary barriers between people, leading to a poverty of spirit that Blessed Mother Teresa said is the worst kind of poverty.

Jesus once observed that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Mt 19:24). Once the rich man arrives at the Pearly Gates, of course, the playing fields are leveled … the streets are paved with gold, and resplendant mansions have been prepared for each of us. Everyone who makes it, wins the proverbial lottery.

The whole point of what we do here, then, is to learn what it means to be content with our present circumstances, whatever they might be. Like almost every other facet of human experience, our financial well-being can change in the blink of an eye; what must never change is our trust in Divine Providence.

Today’s Challenge:  Are there any financial issues between you and your husband that you cannot resolve between the two of you?   Is this an area of your life in which you need to practice greater Abandonment, and allow your spouse to encourage you to greater frugality … or greater generosity?

Today’s Prayer:  “King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the universe came into being at Your Word.  As your children, we are your beneficiaries . . . and stewards of all we possess.  Help me to be as generous with others as you are with me!”

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