Money Map of the World,
Collage by Justine Smith,
banknotes and collage on paper,
Executed in 2013,
© 2019 Justine Smith. All rights reserved
You cannot be the slave both of God and of money
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
Reflection on the collage
In our Gospel reading of today, Jesus is telling us in very clear terms to use for the greater good the money we make and the possessions we have in this world. Such things are there in order to make an eternal impact in the lives of others. Yes, the reading today does make us uncomfortable at first, as here in the West we are all largely well off compared with the poorer parts of the world. This Gospel passage warns us that if we are not faithful in this life with the things of this world and the riches we have been given, then we will not be faithful with the true riches promised to us in heaven.
As Christians, we must show our faith in God also in the area of our finances, money, and possessions. We are called to show the world around us that we consider God more than anything else. Easier said than done, I agree. A hard thing to do. Today’s artwork shows a money map of the world; literally, the world is covered by money, all in local currencies, all facing their own issues and struggles with local market economies. Europe now struggles with the cost of living crisis, Ukraine is steeped in war, Pakistan copes with aftermath of the severe floods, etc… The artist, Justine Smith, reflects on the concept of money and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives. She considers money to be a conduit of power affecting also the value systems which surround us.
The reading of today boils down to one simple idea: if we truly love God more than money, then we should use that money to serve God. But if we love money more than God, we will never have a genuine, close friendship with God….
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Readings related to Luke 16:10-13
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