That the New Testament warns against the worship of wealth can hardly be debated. The real issue is what constitutes worship, and discussions on this topic often become high-pitched battles.
That potential for bloody warfare hit close to home when two editors purchased new (actually used, but certainly bigger and better) cars within a few days of receiving Thomas Schmidt’s CT Institute essay on the hard sayings of Jesus (page 28). Guilt triumphed over pride, we are proud to say. Comments such as “I think the wheel covers are really plastic” and “Normally I wouldn’t have chosen cruise control, but the car came with it” punctuated the requisite show and tell that comes when a colleague pulls up with a new set of wheels.
Then there was the question of how to illustrate a section dealing with wealth. Once we decided to include advertisement samples, special interests took over. To the selection of a slick sports car ad: “What’s wrong with someone enjoying a finely crafted automobile?”; a prestige watch: “Those things last a lifetime”; and so on.
There was no such waffling, however, when it came to who should write the concluding essay for the supplement. More than one of us have cringed when institute dean Kenneth S. Kantzer would, with his disarming smile, quiz a waitress with something like, “Two dollars for a glass of orange juice?” And yet he has raised (and spent) millions in his tenure as a college and seminary administrator and would be the last person to suggest a comfortable lifestyle is unbiblical.
He has, in short, learned the proper role of money in his life and work, and is ever careful to maintain that balanced, biblical perspective.
We offer the wisdom of the institute’s authors, fully aware that what’s prescribed for our readers is good medicine for editors as well.
And if your toes are smarting, ours are too.
LYN CRYDERMAN, Senior Associate Editor
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