Last night I read a passage from Genesis. It was an unfamiliar passage at the end of a very familiar story. The story was the story of Noah and the flood. Everyone knows what happens in this story. God sees that the whole world has become evil and wicked except for Noah and his family. God decides that we need a clean slate and has Noah build an arc for his family and all the animals of the world to live in. God floods the world, and Noah, along with his family, survive the flood. God makes a covenant with Noah and his family to never flood the earth to kill all the people and creatures of the earth again, and leaves the rainbow as a sign of this covenant.
Yes, we all know THAT story. However, there are several passages after this tale that I, for one, was not familiar with. One such story is the story of Noah being the creator of the first vineyard. Basically, Noah makes the first vineyard and consequentially, the first wine. Noah, having had too much wine one night, gets drunk, takes his clothes off and then, passes out naked on the floor of his home. Noah’s youngest son, Ham, comes in, sees his father naked, and then promptly goes outside and tells his older brothers what has happened. His older brothers put a robe on their shoulders and walk backwards into the home to drape the robe over their father without seeing him naked. Noah wakes up, probably with a headache, finds out what happened and cursed the youngest son, praising the older two.
Why did this passage stick out to me? It reminds me of the parable of the 3 servants and the talents from the Gospel. Basically, a rich landowner goes away, giving his servants proportional amounts of talents (or money) to invest. The youngest servant does nothing with the talents, while the other two invest theirs and double them. The story also seems to mirror that of the good Samaritan tale as well. A bunch of people walk by someone clearly in need, and only an outsider, a Samaritan, will help him.
Ham, saw his father cold and naked on the floor. Instead of doing something himself, he runs out and announces the situation to the whole family. He could of quietly taken care of it himself, and nobody would have been the wiser. Instead of choosing to help his father, Ham ignores the need and runs away.
How often have we seen something wrong and ignored it or run away from it? How about within our families? Do we see a family member struggling and simply ignore it, or even worse, gossip about it without taking action? God calls us to quietly pull someone who is in need or in error aside and assist them, without fanfare or gossip. To ignore the person in need, is to ignore Christ in His need on the cross.
The reading I read this morning was from 1 Timothy 6. The thing that stood out to me was in the last few passages of the chapter. It talks about people who strive for riches in this world and how they end up hurting their families and others. It basically states that as long as we have food and clothes, than we should be happy.
However, in a later passage in chapter 6, it also points out that wealth in of itself is not a bad thing. What it does say is that the love and pursuit of wealth is what is sinful. It also states that if a person is wealthy, not to be proud of their wealth, but to use it to help the poor.
Part of the reason for the whole economic crisis in the past few years has been two-fold greed. The greed of loan and mortgage companies made them give out loans to people who were less qualified, thinking they make more money this way. The greed of the people made them take the loans they knew they probably couldn’t pay back, in order to get a better house or more stuff that they didn’t need.
In the end, what happened? The banks and loan companies went broke because people couldn’t pay the loans back and the people who took the loans lost everything they had purchased.
If you have money, that is great, as long as you are a good steward of that wealth. However, those who are boastful and are constantly buying all sorts of great stuff for themselves and their friends will end up being disappointed in the end. Money can only help us when we are in this world, we can’t take it with us to the next.
My suggestions, tithe, 5% to your church and 5% to a charitable organization. When you have some extra cash, donate a little extra to an organization you trust, or maybe, donate in someone else’s name as a gift. Make sure that you truly look at whether buying something is needed or if it could wait a while. Finally, if you have a credit card, pay off any outstanding balance and then pay the card off every month after that. This way, you aren’t going into unnecessary debt.
Let God be the root of your life, not money, and you will be well taken care of.