Daily Reflection
November 22nd, 1999
Jeanne Schuler
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Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
Daniel 3:52-56
Luke 21:1-4

Beyond Accounting

“When men dream, they dream of money” mumbled the character as the story of ruthless greed unfolded.  Our dreams tell us who we are.  And money, with its power to multiply or vanish without a trace, presents itself as the ultimate thrill, our protector, the measure of reality, the only authority that remains secure.  As money talks, we remain silent. 
The old restraints on wealth fall away and there is no longer “enough;" there is only “more.”  Dreams of adventure give way to fantasies about my first million.  Growing up comes to mean starting salaries.  The ancient writers were familiar with God’s most ardent rivals.  “Wake up, time is short, loosen your grip, what fails to satisfy.”  Long before capitalism, where the market never sleeps, were the call to freedom and warnings about what holds us captive.  

The poor widow who gave what she could not afford and Daniel, the dazzling interpreter of dreams, show us freedom.  And we are troubled at the sight.  Where is the chip on her shoulder?  Widowed and needy, who helps her?  How did she let those last coins drop?  In captivity and faced with danger, why didn’t Daniel hide his convictions?  Where is his common sense?    

I faced Daniel and the poor widow last Sunday when the young couple soon after the birth of their second child spoke to the congregation about stewardship.  Many of us are uneasy when Scripture stands too solidly before us.  They spoke of trying to grow in love of God.  They spoke about money and its uncanny power to keep us afraid.  They tithe.  Not in the loose way of a weekly check in the basket but by adding up sums and learning to trust.  “Not the tax return from their earned income credit,” I murmured, “you’ll need that.”  But mutual encouragement loosened their grip and in went half.  Their tone was not smug but full of life.  Here are two who give from their need, and, like a psalm,  I went 
home thankful.  Both the struggle and the radiance of love were apparent.  And their trust in God.  This is real.  Here lies strength beyond accounting.

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