News outlets have confirmed the death of “David Koch, conservative donor and philanthropist and conservative political activist, has died at age 79.”
Here is a prayer of confused lament in response to this news.
A Prayer of Confused Lament in Remembrance of Deceased Billionaires.
Three in One.
As it was in the Beginning.
Is Now, and Forever will be.
Three in One existing in perfect forever-communion.
Needing no one else.
And yet, out of the overflow of your Love, you created mankind.
You created us.
You created me.
to enter into Communion with you, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
You created us to trust in you completely and even told us what would happen when we would choose not to believe you. But like a child touching the stove because we must see for ourselves; because we don’t yet believe our parent has my best interest at heart; because we trust ourselves;
. . . reaches out . . .
(. . . and I burn myself . . . )
and ate the fruit God said not to.
Gracious God, we know that Adam and Eve are all of us.
Prone to wander, Lord we feel it.
Prone to leave the God we love.
The God who is Love.
Abba, Father, you know how fickle we are and how much money can mean to us. What are we to think of someone who died with so much of it? What are we to think of ourselves that we can be so jealous of someone who died with so much. Someone who died. Just like we will.
Someone who died.
Just like I will.
Every day, we are tested on what we will trust.
And so often I fail.
We all want security.
We all want some sense of identity.
We just want to belong.
Is it too much to ask for joy.
And it sure seems like, with enough money, I could have all of those things.
So what am I supposed to pray for at the death of another person who had so much and pursued their own personal agenda
(. . . just like I know I would . . )
I can’t help but ask what we will trust.
I can’t help but ask what I trust.
Because far too often . . .
I trust money.
Because money can buy us chariots and and horses (Psalm 20:7).
Because when our cupboards are full, we are comfortable. And that’s when I know I’ve made it. That it’s all been worth it.
But, Gracious God, you know that when we are comfortable, we become complacent.
And when we are complacent, that means that we are trusting something other than you. I don’t know what to pray when it seems like the American Culture I was raised into teaches me to trust things other than you yet also claims to speak for you.
The voice I hear when I know it’s You doesn’t sound like the one when school districts make everyone say empty allegiance to you.
Please help me discern.
Please help me listen to you, because I was born into a culture that taught me to pursue the dream of comfort.
That’s what it’s all for. The long days. The lost nights. The abandoned relationships.
That’s what we are taught we are working for.
That’s what we’re taught we are looking for.
We are born believing that money can provide more than you.
And sometimes I believe the lie.
We are taught to pursue money.
We are taught to hoard money.
We make celebrities of the people who can hoard the most. Believing that we should emulate them. Because comfort means success.
But, Dangerous God, you do not call your people to pursue comfort.
And you do not reward hoarding.
You tell us that you’ll bless the generous “because they share their food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). You tell us to “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). You tell us to give, not hoard if we can if we can give it away (Proverbs 3:27-28).
God, I know you understand that there are times when I can’t give.
But you also know that most of the time, it’s just that I won’t.
You tell us that it is the emptiest hand which clings to the Cross most tightly.
But it doesn’t seem that way.
God, I know you already know this, and I hope it’s not being a tattle tail, because I discipline my kids for that, but:
people come into your churches and teach us that money is a sign of your approval; your blessing. And that it honors you if I hoard just enough of it to make sure that I can comfortably retire. And many people who claim to speak for you are telling me that since I worked so hard for mine other people should work even harder for theirs and that, in the end, I don’t really have to share.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Prone to trust the gift instead of the Giver.
God, you do not tell us that money is evil, but that the love of it sure is (1 Timothy 6:10).
You tell us to trust in you with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6) and you tell us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). You tell us that you do not rejoice at the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 33:11) and you remind us that you don’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
God, I know that you have taught me that an implication of Christian Community is that there would be no needy among us (Acts 4:34). The billionaires know this because they separate themselves. They don’t live next to people who won’t survive without their help. They seclude themselves from the need of everyday people.
Lord, forgive me for wanting that.
Forgive me for not knowing what to pray at the death of a billionaire..
It is only natural to mourn death. Even someone I did not know. But It is so easy to be envious of a family that will inherit so much when it feels like I have to work for so little.
Guard me from the root of envy that their luxury was not mine.
Protect me from believing that they were worth more because they had more money.
Shield me from believing that money equaled importance.
Lord, it’s easy to be jealous of the wealthy.
There is so much I worry about they don’t.
I know you tell me not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6-7), even including what I’ll eat or wear (Matthew 6:25-34), but just a little more money would sure calm my nerves. I know you know that. And it still seems like you don’t give it to me.
Another billionaire has died and I don’t know what to think of anyone who would keep that much money for themselves when there is so much want.
So much need.
So much injustice.
So much good to do.
So much wasted in the pursuit of human glory.
So much wasted.
So much idolatry.
God, I take comfort in knowing that you know what I’m praying even when I don’t because of your love through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). It is not mine to presume the state of another man’s soul. But I know how hard it is to trust you completely when someone has more than enough. Even when I have what I feel to be so little. I don’t know what it’s like to have my every desire available or my every want fulfilled. I worry about my kids. I lose sleep wanting the best for them. I can’t imagine what it might be like having so much money that ever goes away.
I can only imagine how hard it must be for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24).
I can only imagine how hard it must be to have so much and yet truly know I had so little.
I don’t know what to think upon the death of a billionaire except:
“Dear Lord, Please Don't Let Me Die A Billionaire.