One-time billionaire, Jocelyn Wildenstein, a New York socialite known as the Catwoman, is now broke. Once worth $2.5 billion, bankruptcy filings show her with a zero balance in her bank account.1
She whines that now she must attempt to get by on a mere $900 dollars in Social Security benefits. She does have millions in assets currently in foreclosure. After everything is settled she will likely still have several million left. That doesn’t seem like much to a woman who once bragged she spent a million dollars a month.
The term “lots of money” is an extremely relative expression. What is a lot to me may not be a lot to you. Nor is a lot to someone else a lot to you or me.
Catwoman’s story does cause the more reflective among us to stop and ponder the concept of financial justice in the world.
For example, how is it that a woman worth $2.5 billion has only paid enough into Social Security to draw $900 dollars a month. Of course, we all know enough tax law to know how it happened. But the question is the justice of laws that make it possible. That is a very relevant question when we are told Social Security will soon be broke and Congress is considering reducing all current benefits. Rather than getting annual raises, we will see several years of benefit cuts.
Politicians and their cronies who put them in office are to blame for the Social Security debacle. There is nothing average citizens can do about it except bear the injustice. Evangelicals do however bear the blame for not speaking out decades ago on social and financial injustice.
What we can do something about is how justly we administer the finances God has put under our control. Do we take a bigger share in money deals than is just? Do we share from the bounty the Lord has given us with those in true need, or do we close our eyes to them? Do we pay our fair share of the cost of services and benefits in which we participate?
Churches especially are affected by the answer to the last question. The answer to all the above questions likely reveals that most people are not just in their handling of money. The Bible teaches that how we treat others, especially regarding real needs, demonstrates whether one is righteous or not.
1 John 3:17-18, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth,” (NKJV).
Evangelicals love the word. Let us love in truth as well! Doesn’t it make sense that those justified by Christ should be the most just people on earth?
1. Paul Schrodt, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/how-the-former-billionaire-known-as-catwoman-went-bankrupt-with-dollar0-in-her-bank-account/ar-AAAcN70?ocid=spartanntp, accessed July 20, 2018.