Thursday, May 21, 2009

The god of money

Yesterday I found out that these little altars we pass everywhere in the alleys of Hong Kong are not actually something in honor of the ancestors (which I had thought they were!) but quite a few of them are specifically in honor of the "money god". Or at least that's what our Sino-religious -studies -just-accepted-an-offer-to-teach-at- Yale-scholar friend told us. "Yup," she said, peering down to look at the inscription on one of the little red-light lit niches in the quaint, ramshackle town of Tai Wai (within walking distance of our home in Shatin). "This is in honor of the money god, hoping good fortune and money will come to this little shop."

I felt quite superior for all of about 5 seconds and then thought, well at least these folks are being honest about it. Whereas I have been having trouble getting to sleep, worrying about our house that hasn't sold yet and what should the fair listing price be.

The chief topic of my conversations with God lately have been much more about what He's doing to get my house sold than about, say, better ways to serve the poor and the lost of this world.

I awakened extra early just this morning... was it to worship up at the seminary for Morning Prayer? Was it to see my son off to school? Nope, usually I sleep through anything like that. I got up early in order to .... call the U.S.A. & talk to our realtor about the sale of the house.

And guess what's been the desktop picture on my computer for these last five months... yup, there's that big colorful picture of the house that we're still hoping to make a little bit of money on...

I may not be offering oranges and electric lights to the god of money, but he is certainly getting my thoughts and my time.

Maybe it's time for a dethronement.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
-- Jesus, according to Luke 16:13

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