I’d lived in Morocco for a year and four months when the coronavirus pandemic forced the country into a strict lockdown. During this mandatory quarantine, I stayed in my apartment for 103 days. I didn’t get into a car for over three months. I saw seasons change outside my window. One day, I was surprised to realize that I was wearing a sweater in the middle of the summer. From my comfortable yet tedious couch, I heard reports about the suffering of countless migrants and refugees in our collapsed economy. I listened to the ways our church was trying to help ease their suffering.
A week after our stay-at-home orders were lifted, I went window shopping in the mall near my house. I was craving a whiff of capitalism. The normalcy of a mall visit was a fun, nostalgic breath of fresh air. Touching new clothes on hangers, seeing the fountain working once again, smelling perfumes, and hearing American pop songs on the radio made me feel like I’d emerged from a Stone Age cave. I laughed aloud when I found myself in the knickknack corner of a discount department store. In my shelter-in-place world, I completely forgot how we humans spend money on things like wire cactus centerpieces. The glitzy picture frames and plastic wine glasses looked so frivolous that I took a picture of the shameless commercialism. We survived several months of quarantine just fine without access to any of this. I couldn’t imagine why I used to spend money on it. Those 103 days of changed practices forced me to redefine what I consider “riches.”
Jesus challenges our relationship to money when he says, You cannot serve God and wealth (v. 13) The Pharisees found those words ridiculous. How do we find them today?
What would happen to your perspective if you spent 103 days quarantined in God’s Kingdom? How would that change your perspective of money?
Holy One, we want to view money the way you do. Help us love you more than we love our wealth. Amen.