Phil’s barn burned down, and Susan, his wife, called the insurance company ...
Susan: We had that barn insured for fifty thousand and I want my money.
Agent: Whoa there just a minute, Susan; it doesn't work quite like that. We will ascertain the value of the old barn and provide you with a new one of comparable worth.
Susan, after a pause: I'd like to cancel the policy on my Phil.
The urge to dive deeply into politics sorely tempts the soul this morning. I shall not do that here. But more particularly, the urge to talk about how money politics has divided the Christian community is a reasonable take on our Lukan reading for this week. The text is, as many are, about relationship. Jesus is asked to resolve a family squabble…about money. Money is just such a wedge that divides and divides and divides. When we think about money, our thoughts are more, more, more, and the divisor gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
We think that stories like the Feeding of the 5000 are about multiplying blessing, but another way to think about them is that the divisor is quite small. Oh yeah, you think that the money is the numerator…is that the problem?
There is lots of great humor out there about Christians and their money. There needs to be a lot, because the topic is always so close to the readings, and particularly Luke. There is the man who insisted on being buried with his wealth, so his widow wrote him a check and put it in his hands as they closed the casket. Then there is the man who packed several suitcases full of gold bars so that he would have riches in heaven, only to find that the streets are paved with his treasure. And here is one to close:
Two friends met in the street. One looked sad and almost on the verge of tears. The other man said, "Hey my friend, how come you look like the whole world has caved in?"
The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 50-thousand dollars."
"That's not bad at all...!"
"Hold on, I'm just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew kicked-the-bucket and left me 95-thousand, tax-free to boot."
"Well, that's great! I'd like that."
"Last week, my grandfather passed away. I inherited almost a million."
"So why are so glum?"
"This week - nothing!"
Have a great week – Laurin