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  1. Article excerpt
  2. Stewardship of Passion - Diocese of San Joaquin
  3. Upcoming Workshops
  4. This site requires the use of cookies
  5. Reading List

Money is not the only currency your ministry needs. Author Eric H.

Article excerpt

Law shows us how the six blessings of time and place, gracious leadership, relationship, truth, wellness, and money flow through successful missional ministries. And they can flow through your ministry too Learn how to use these gifts to rejuvenate, recirculate, regenerate, and expand your ministry through Law's insightful stories, instruction, processes, exercises, and activities. Tools in the book help evaluate how your church uses each gift and enables church members to measure and value the six blessings.

The six coins are surrounded by flowing water as if they are circulating about; currency in its literal meaning, related to the word current. Time and place, leadership, wellness, truth, relationship, even money have value, Law says, only if they flow, only if all six currencies circulate together through a congregation out into the wider society and back again in a cycle of blessing. Instead, money, truth and relationship, time and place and wellness, above all, leadership, are locked up, hoarded away in vaults for the rich at the expense of the poor. Teaching in the temple, Jesus implores his hearers to beware of the scribes who give a public performance of their privilege, status, and power by parading around in long robes impossible to ignore; by insisting on being honored and praised publicly in the marketplace; by monopolizing the best seats in the synagogues and most prominent places of honor at banquet tables, public gatherings where the social calculus of worth and importance was on display for all to see in who sat or reclined up front and who had to stand at the back.

Beware, Jesus warns, for this pious display veils economic opportunism and oppression. That role of executor was taken on by male religious authorities. But they used it to their own advantage, not for the benefit of the widow. The best places at banquets, front and center, might have been reserved for them, but what the scribes really feasted on was the livelihoods of the vulnerable.

Stewardship of Passion - Diocese of San Joaquin

They will receive the greater condemnation, says Jesus; condemned for blocking the flow of holy currencies. Money, truth, time and place, and all the rest, stream into the vaults of the religious authorities and never flow back out. Clogged, dammed up, those currencies stagnate in pools of injustice.

Which brings us to the poor widow and her two little coins Mark Currency, again.

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Jesus is seated opposite the temple treasury, observing the religious, economic, and political dynamics at work among his people. The crowds make their monetary offerings. Many rich folk give large sums trailing lots of zeroes. The widow puts in two small copper coins together worth a penny — the smallest coins in circulation and of as little value in the marketplace as my 1 and 2 cent euro coins. The widow had two little coins. She could have offered one to the temple and kept the other for herself.

They gave out of their abundance, but left plenty behind for themselves.

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Not the widow. She gave her whole life. In context, however, the story of the widow with her coins must also be heard as a lament over social injustice, even a protest.


Jesus laments currencies that do not flow; money that does not circulate; uncomfortable truths about the lives of the poor that are not heard. He protests against some people being excluded from relationships as unworthy; the marginalized not being granted time and place within society — diminishing their wellness; all structured by religious authorities whose leadership is anything but gracious — rapacious, rather.

And immediately after calling attention to the poor widow and the rich folk making their offerings, Jesus overhears one of his disciples praise the beauty and magnificence of the temple. In between, Jesus comes back day after day to that same temple to teach.

Is it lawful for righteous Jews to pay taxes to the Roman emperor or not, they ask. Whose image is on the coin, Jesus asks?

Eric Law on Wellness

What if a woman was widowed seven times by the deaths of her husband and his six brothers in a spectacular failure of the social safety net of the time meant to provide for vulnerable women; in the resurrection of the dead, they ask, whose wife will she be? When we are raised from the dead and restored to our full human dignity in God, he says, male privilege and the devaluing of women will come to an end.

Reading List

Yes, Jesus praises the generosity of the poor widow with her two little coins. Not just their money, but all the currencies they have to offer as human beings. I wonder what obstructs the flow of holy currencies for you and me as individuals, for us as members and friends of this parish in this neighborhood; as citizens or sojourners in this city, state, and nation; as human beings on this planet.

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What blocks a just circulation of our money? Whose truth does our less than gracious leadership fail to notice, plugging up time and place for those without privilege to be fully themselves in the image of God?

Why do we arrest the stream of relationship across human differences, choking off the wellness of all? As a child, Law remembers his family always having guests for dinner, as many as twelve to fifteen people joyfully sharing food and stories. At the time, he thought his immigrant Chinese family quite wealthy, only to discover later they were actually poor.

Some days, his mother told him, she had only three dollars to feed all those people.