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A Budget is a Moral Document

Dear Friends,

 

What does Jesus talk about most in the Bible? Hint: it isn’t heaven; it isn’t marriage; it isn’t faith…

Believe it or not, it’s money! There are about forty recorded parables in the Gospels (some of them are repeated across different Gospels in slightly different forms) — forty different stories we know that Jesus told his followers. And about half of these parables relate to money, in one way or another.

Jesus knew that how we choose to spend and distribute our money is a good reflection of our faith. Our stewardship tells a story of how we love, and what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like for us.

Last Thursday, the Trump administration unveiled its first budget blueprint. With defense spending set to increase, the budget is proposing to decrease funding for following agencies: Dept. of Housing, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Other organizations, like the National Endowment for the Arts, would be eliminated.

All too often, we separate financial decisions from ultimate values. I’m guilty of this. Sometimes, my planning and spending puts my needs first, which is a great excuse to put off giving away more of what my family earns. It’s as if one part of me reads the Bible, and another part of me rationalizes costs and savings.

On the national scale, it’s only slightly different. We have a deficit, and part of responsible stewardship is addressing our deficit for the sake of future generations. But balancing a budget should not come at the expense of the poor, the uneducated, and the vulnerable.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25). Jesus said that. He knew that budgets and financial decisions were inseparable from how we lived out our faiths.

So what would Jesus prioritize in a budget? What would he choose to cut? Those are hard questions, but they are ones we must ask, as thinking Christians, this Lent.

See you Sunday     (for Soul Sparks at 3:30, and then worship at 5!)

~ Rev. Nate Klug