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JESUS, THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Father Francis's picture
Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lk. 12:32-48

Have we ever thought of Jesus being a financial advisor, an expert in money matters? We are familiar with Him talking about loving God, healing and forgiveness, but not an expert in investing our money. Let us recall what Jesus said, “Get yourself purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in Heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Here is Jesus clearly playing the role of financial advisor. In this area He has never achieved any recognition. Some people would say, “How can He tell us what to do with our money when He never had much Himself? He was a poor Man. His parents were Galilean peasants. He worked most of his life as a village carpenter. His only other job was an itinerant teacher. When He died His only material possession was the robe on His back. What could a Man like Him possibly know about financial matters?”

It is not surprising that the words we have just read are some of the most ignored He ever spoke. How many people have really taken these words seriously? Let us at least try to understand what Jesus has to say.

We can begin by thinking of life as a process of investing. Some of us will find that difficult to do. We do not consider ourselves investors. Investments concern the rich. Most of us barely have enough to makes ends meet and nothing is left over to invest. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus spoke these words to poor people. Most of them, perhaps all of them, were on a very tight budget, just like we are. Still, Jesus talked to them about making wise investments.

Concerning investments we need to ask ourselves two questions. First, are they secure? The people of Jesus’ time did not have banks, no safety deposit boxes, and no insurance. What were they to do with their meagre store of money? Where could they put it, and be reasonably sure it would be there when they needed it?

Put yourself in their place. Suppose you had no bank. What would you do with your money? You could carry it around with you, but that would be a risky business. You might lose it or you might get mugged. You could hide it under a mattress or bury it in your back yard. Your house could catch fire, or someone could see where you hid your money in your back yard and dig it up.

Jesus had a strange solution to the problem of financial security. He said, “Sell your possessions and give alms.” Just give it away. Now we understand why most people do not heed the financial advice of Jesus. His solutions are too radical but the question is, do they work? Do they provide security?

You must have read about a man who won the lottery and decided to give it all away. He made a large donation to his church. Then he gave some of the money to buy some land in a poor country so that they could build a school for those children who had no education. With rest of the money he helped to modernise his local hospital. Soon after this he fell on hard times himself. He was forced into bankruptcy. His wife asked him if he wished he could have saved some of that money for a rainy day. His reply was, “No, I would have probably lost that too. With what I did with that money I can never lose now.”

He was right because the most secure investment that you and I will ever make is the money we give away to good causes. Jesus called it a never failing treasure which no thief can steal and no moth can destroy.

The second question is will our investments appreciate? Will they be worth more in a decade or a century from now than they are today? All of the things that you and I possess will be of no value to us in few short years. I remember a story about a proud wealthy farmer who was visited by his priest. They stood on the front porch of a beautiful house and surveyed the land. It stretched out of sight in every direction. The priest said, “So this is all yours.” The farmer replied, “Every acre of it is bought and paid for.” The priest said, “And in fifty years’ time, whose will it be?”

A wise investor plans for his living, and for his retirement, and for his children. But a truly wise investor plans beyond his retirement into eternity. Wise people invest their money in people, because that is the only thing on this earth that is going to Heaven.

Holy Spirit, inspire us to give serious thought, today, as to how well we are investing our money, our time, our energy and our love.

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