When Much is Required?

(Journal entry written Jan 28, 2022)

To whom much is given much will be required Luke 12:48

This scripture from the gospel of Luke came to my attention after seeing a FaceBook post about a ‘members only luxury club’ opening in the Transamerica Pyramid in downtown San Francisco.  To join this exclusive club will cost roughly $100,000.  See below:

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsfist.com%2F2022%2F01%2F25%2Fjust-what-downtown-sf-needs-a-new-private-club-for-the-ultra-rich%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1Mdg_LQjmCsSW8jqHZ1wT7V_6FCvnTAfE3twq4K8aDzwgUr7TjQjM3mqU&h=AT16_fiiU8lUx-SekEqkvGt9J52udZX-JYu8V9LCrpkjORPoX5MoCVcxmVu-m2I26GRxNCpl-ilo3NcjachgI1m4EKm7IQG7hjDPyFiCmAWnaChS6zKuuDMz37fL5ys_2BovEC_Y2nXc&s=1

A friend and colleague, shared this scriptural text in response to a comment reminding readers that a lot of growth in our nation and around the world come from the minds and within the hearts  of the wealthiest of people.   This creates for me images of the disparity between the haves and have-nots in this world—with extreme wealth for some and agonizing poverty for others.  The point of one of the comments on the Facebook page: Haven’t the wealthy in our world earned the right to enjoy the luxuries life offers, ie expensive mansions, yachts — even trips into space?  

Wouldn’t it be neat to rent the Royal Suite  in the tallest building in the world, the  Burj Khalif in Dubai  at $24,000+ a night?

There is no arguing the fact that the wealthy of the world have earned the right to use the ‘fruits of the vines’ they have planted?  This is where the scriptural text from the gospel of Luke comes in:

To whom much is given

much will be required.  Luke 12:48

Who am I to judge the wealthiest people in the world? Many if not most of those we call wealthy do a lot of really good things to make this a better world in which to live. I’m thinking specifically of people like Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Opra Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg…to mention a few—all who do good things with their wealth.   There is no doubt in my mind that many of the super wealthy in our world  are doing significant things with their wealth—also deserving of upscale clubs and huge castles.   Much is required of these wealthy people. How much is enough for a billionaire? and who am i to judge the person who chooses space travel over anything else.

I consider myself wealthy—more spiritual than financial. I am blessed with what I need to support my family.  I know I can’t afford to join the club that just opened in the San Francisco Transamerica Pyramid.  I can, however, afford to live in a reasonably priced 55+ gated community in Northern California using what my wife and I have earned doing normal things with better than average jobs for the last 40 years.  

But am I doing enough to support the food pantry

just down the road from where we live?  

There is ‘much required’ from all of us with what God has entrusted our care.

Back to billionaires:

 I wonder how many billionaires there are in the world? Google says we have over 2700 billionaires worth over 13 Trillion dollars.  

Question: how many billions would it take to solve the issue of homelessness in a city like San Francisco.  I honestly believe this problem could be solved by all of us who live in the Bay Area if we had the  gumption and resolve to pool our many resources (not just money) into the solving of this complex issue.  The problem as I see it is the reality that the combined wealth of the rich and poor will not solve this problem if there isn’t a significant amount of collective resolve. Do we have to wait for the homeless to show up on the doorsteps of our homes in order to take this issue seriously?  the homeless are already on the streets all around us.  Or can we isolate ourselves from facing difficult issues like homelessness by living in gated communities that help separate us from the poverty that exists outside the walls.  Having lived my entire life in a city house, now livng in retirement in a gated community is a bit uncomfortable.  At the same time I know my family is safe.

We don’t live in a a perfect world.  i am not perfect with my stewardship of what I have  been blessed to recieve. And I believe collective use of resources (time, talents, money, advocacy)  used to solve some of these complex issues is within our reach — especially if there was more  fairness in the distribution of wealth.

  A good first step would be for zillionaires to place more resolve and non-monetary  resources into programs/policies that would help the bottom tier people of in earning higher life-sustaining wages or reasonable social benefits.  A good second step would be to require the super-wealthy to pay taxes at the same rate as lower tier tax payers. 

This gets into a topic I love to preach.  I believe we are called to place our wealth next to things we truly value.  Does our use of time and talent and resources and advocacy reflect this aspiration?  I believe that God calls us to pin our resources next to those things we personally value —and this is always going to be a personal choice. I assume there are many wealthy people who do just that — serve others by placing their wealth next to what they value.  

Unfortunately getting wealthier is a value held by some. Getting wealthier is enough. Thus the need for equitable taxes.

Simply, this is a scriptural text that needs to be proclaimed globally from many platforms:  

To whom much is given

much will be required.  Luke 12:48

This is a text that requires  serious reflection. 

This is a text that needs a faithful response from those who wish to share their wealth with the helpless and poor.

Enough said—for now!

Biden or Trump……Political Journal Entry

(I don’t usually post political statements. I felt the need to go public with this journal entry)

There is no denying the fact that former President Donald Trump finds himself in the news almost every day. I find it amazing that most of the news portrays Donald Trump as a man who has a lot of STUFF going on in his life that is being investigated by congress, courts, or a host of political and non-political institutions — entities that suggest much of what Trump has and is doing is (allegedly) criminal.  In short I don’t see a lot of people giving Donald Trump awards for being a model citizen or a champion in business. For many he is a popular politician.  He is also known globally as a twice-impeached former lover of golf-President.  So why does the GOP continue to support him?   why do thousands love him? Because he is all they have?  Do people really long to be like him? For me, Donald Trump divides us.  He creates CHAOS wherever he goes.  He has a militant, vocal following.  He wants to be President again — but why?  WHY? WHY?

There is no denying that Joseph Biden finds himself in the news almost every day.  He has a lot of STUFF going on with COVID, inflation, crisis, natural disasters, global warming, a host of domestic and global issues. As far as I can tell Joseph Biden doesn’t spend a lot of time golfing.  He is not being investigated for any crimes.  He is a popular, loved life-long politician.  FACT: he won the last election! Joseph Biden has devoted his life in defending the constitution without the need to be announcing in every speech — “I am the greatest, smartest, richest leader America (or world) has ever seen!”  Bidens love for this nation is palpable.  He has a dozen major projects designed to improve the lives of all Americans—rich or poor regardless of race or creed or social standing.  He isn’t building walls.  He longs to heal divisions between people and nations.  He works for unity and peace…even with those in whom he disagrees…even trying to work with republicans and democrats.

These are some of my thoughts as a citizen and Democrat.  While I don’t know who I will support the next time we have a Presidential election,  I know for a fact I will be looking for a woman or man who governs with a smile and outstretched arms and open hands longing to embody the great affirmation that “WE ARE ONE NATION UNDER GOD”.  I don’t need or want a divisive, authoritarian King.  I want a President who will help me once again proud to be an American.