I dunno, Henry, I think John’s valid in his feelings. I dunno if the main conclusion we can draw from the fact that Jesus talks about money more than anything else is that “sound financial decision making is a component of — not an independent issue of — God-centered decision making.” I’m not going to say that idea is wrong. I agree with it, for the most part. But you’re saying that’s the point of everything Jesus says about money?

In fact, the point is not exactly but nearly the opposite. You should not love money too much. And your decisions in life should not be based solely on monetary considerations. That’s not saying it shouldn’t be a part. But the emphasis of Jesus’ words is not on what Henry is saying (that it should be a part of the decision) but the opposite (it should not be too much of a factor in the decision).

The only example I can really think of that supports Henry’s idea is the parable of the talents, but by most that’s understood as being primarily a parable for something else. But regardless, if you look at everything Jesus said, it’s clear (at least to me) that Jesus is warning against caring about money too much. He’s not warning that you need to make good financial decisions as a part of your decision making process.

If anything, the Bible seems to emphasize things that might seem fiscally irresponsible. Like, the woman who buys the expensive perfume for Jesus. Everyone else thinks it could have been better spent but Jesus praises her. Or the parable of the guy who pays everyone a day’s wage even if they came just before the day ended. Or praising a woman who gives all she has to live on. Or encouraging the young man to sell all his possessions. Or when he sends out the disciples the first time telling them not to take any money and just depend on others. Etc.

All these things seem fiscally irresponsible. But the point is, spiritual concerns often trump what seems the fiscally right thing to do. Yeah, financial concerns have spiritual ramifications. That’s logical. But, the example in the Bible seems to me that as logical as it might seem, you can’t base your decisions solely on financial considerations, even though they have spiritual ramifications, because greater spiritual concerns supercede them.

And that’s why John is valid in saying what he did. What concerned him is not that he did something for financial reasons but that it felt to him like he was doing something solely for financial reasons. And that’s absolutely a valid, I dare say Biblical, concern.

So yeah, slam me if you want (not just Henry but everyone), but do it based on the Bible, not just on logic. Yeah, financial concerns have spiritual ramifications. But I think from the Bible, it’s clear that spiritual concerns supercede what’s financially responsible when they conflict, and that making decisions based on financial decisions alone is bad.

That said, Henry is right about one thing: John is wrong.

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