Where’s Your Money?

Thursday, September 4

Jar of MoneyBy Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

—Matthew 11:29–30 NRSV

When I was 17, I had a good friend named Linda. We lived near each other, went to school together, and even worked at the same place. I was saving for college, and Linda was saving for a car. We both kept a little money aside for fun, which we usually spent together.

When Linda’s brother came home from military duty in Vietnam, it seemed she no longer had any money. Whenever we went anywhere—movie, school game, or restaurant, she needed to borrow from me. One day when we were walking on the beach, our favorite pastime, I finally asked her where all her money was.

She told me she had lent it to her brother. Because I knew he still received payment from the military, I asked when she thought he might pay it back so she could get her car. She sheepishly told me she didn’t lend it to him; she gave it to him. I expressed concern because I knew he spent a lot on cigarettes and beer. I went so far as to tell her she had better not dip into her savings.

She said, tearfully, “I already gave him all of it. I couldn’t say ‘no’ to him.”

This concerned me even more. I don’t remember what I said next, but it must have been hurtful. I will never forget what she said, “He’s alive! That’s all I care about. He came back to me. I’ve worried and feared for his life for two years. I’m just so thankful he’s alive.”

You can imagine how I felt—petty and small. Looking back as a slightly more objective adult, at one time I framed some ideas about Linda enabling her brother’s poor choices. I decided I was just trying to excuse my judgmental self. Linda was the one who had her priorities straight. She loved her brother unconditionally. She sacrificed for him. She forgave him for wasting her money. She forgave me for not understanding her motives and for judging her brother. I learned a good lesson in humility.

Prayer for Peace God of wisdom, when we think highly of ourselves, help us bend low and reach for the hem of Christ’s robe, where we will find the humble heart of Jesus. Accept the love of our poor hearts. Forgive us when we impose our values on another. Help us humbly share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: The Jesus Prayer of Mercy The Jesus Prayer is an ancient spiritual practice from Orthodox Christianity. It is a way of connecting with the gracious spirit of Christ as we ask to receive his mercy. The prayer comes from the scripture of the blind man calling Jesus to heal him. Silently enter prayer and let your breath become slow and even. Greet God and then take up the prayer phrase: Lord, Jesus Christ (as you breathe in)…Have mercy on me (as you breathe out). Prayerfully repeat these words for several minutes (or 40 times). Breathe the presence of Christ into your mind, heart, and body. Be transformed as you receive the compassionate, peaceful heart of Jesus.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will not presume to know your will for another person.

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