Deborah Beach Giordano
© February 26, 2012
Do not fret yourself because of evildoers;
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
~ Psalm 37:1
Of course we’re not jealous of wrongdoers. No one wants to do wicked or harmful things.
It does seem as if wrongdoers accrue some pretty serious benefits from their deeds. Money, mostly; which is no big deal — unless you don’t have any.
And what money can buy: power, influence, prestige. Even friends, of a certain sort.
Wrongdoers live in luxury, unconcerned about the cost of car repairs or vet bills or health insurance. They don’t worry if the heater stops heating or the drains stop draining or the faucets start leaking.
If you have enough money, anything can be fixed.
That same holds true for disgraceful conduct or criminal actions by themselves or their family members. An infusion of cash applied in the right place can make almost any trouble disappear.
It’s not that we want to get away with murder (or car theft or shoplifting or substance abuse), but it’s tempting to wonder what we could do with a nearly unlimited supply of money. Although perhaps a better question would be what a nearly unlimited supply of money could do to us.
Would we accept the responsibility and handle it wisely; would we seek to improve the lot of human kind, save the whales, replant a forest, or protect the polar icecaps? Or would we believe our wealth to be well-deserved: the result of our being clever, attractive, and nice? Would we decide it was a divine reward for being the wonderful folks that we are, intended for our pleasure alone?
And speaking of temptation; it is easy to identify the sins and shortcomings of those who live large and self-absorbed on their ill-gotten gains. But in so doing we are tempted to overlook our own call to stewardship, and ignore our own lack of humility. Anyone can do evil while remaining convinced her actions are just; the poor can be as miserly as the rich.
Closing meditation: Gracious, generous God, help us to make good use of the many gifts You have given us. Keep us free from jealousy and envy — and fill our hearts with love. Amen.