I’ve been thinking much these past days about money – how short it is, how fast it goes, how I’m always wishing for more.
I’ve also been bumping up against issues of power – its assumptions, its privilege, its exclusion.
Then today I came across this quote by George MacDonald:
To have what we want is riches, but to be able to do without is power.
How’s that for messing with the categories? It certainly messes with me. I often confuse the two – and I doubt I’m alone. More often it seems that those with riches are those with power. The converse is also often true – or at least it seems so: the less money, the less power.
I’m wondering today what it would be like to redefine both of these words; certainly for myself, but in other contexts and on behalf of others, as well.
- What if wealth was not something to be attained, but something willingly done without?
- What if wealth was something I chose to not worry about so much? OK: obsess about.
- What if my letting go of this category of meaning or significance for my life was actually what ushered me into more wealth, albeit of a different kind, and power – also of a different kind?
- What if power was not something grabbed; something that just goes with the territory of wealth, influence, gender, privilege?
- What if power was something I intentionally chose (and experienced) by seeing wealth in a different way?
- What if power was more available the less I desired such (perhaps even money, as well)?
There’s a story in the New Testament Scriptures that tells of the Widow’s Mite.
While seeing contributions/offerings made by rich men, Jesus highlights how a poor widow donates only two mites, the least valuable coins available at the time. She gave everything (if not more) than she had while others, those with power and money, gave only a small portion of their wealth.
Who was esteemed? Who had the most “power?” Who had the most riches? She did. A woman. A widow. Poor. Shunned. Ignored. Silenced. Unseen. Powerful!
What if, indeed?!?