E-pistle September 24

God Never Sleeps
 
Twenty-three years later Michael Douglas is returning to his role as Gordon Gecko, a corporate raider last seen in the film Wall Street. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens tonight.
 
You can read the reviews and watch the trailers all over the Internet. I haven’t seen the movie, though whether it is at the theater or when Netflix delivers it, I probably will. 
 
No spoiler here, but apparently the plot revolves around Douglas’ Gecko character, newly released from prison for some crime of the Bernie Madoff/Martha Stewart sort, and a young Wall Street player, Jacob Moore, played by Shia LaBeouf. The Atlantic magazine review describes Jacob Moore as “a young trader teetering between idealism (his fiancée calls him "Mr. Green Energy") and avarice ("the only green is money," he retorts).”
 
A pre-release scene between Gecko and Moore shows how the movie got its title and the lesson that prison taught the corrupt old trader. We wonder what lessons the young trader might learn by the end of the film. Please click here to watch the 65-second clip.
 
Money as a woman of less than sterling character. “Money never sleeps, and she’s jealous,” Gecko says, warning Moore of money’s seductive ways. And then he tells the “young trader teetering between idealism and avarice” what it is that he learned in prison, “One thing I learned in jail is that money is not the prime asset in life. Time is.”
 
It seems as if Gecko has learned an important lesson. Time is more valuable than money. But neither money nor time is the prime asset in life. Love is. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, "If I give all the money in all my accounts to the poor and invest all the time I have in fighting injustice, but have not love, I gain nothing. And if I am obsessed with telling everyone I know about the advantages of across-the-board tax cuts or dangers of another stimulus bill, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
 
By Paul’s reckoning, time and money don’t even make the top three of life’s assets, easily beaten by faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
 
But can love really play in a world “where there are fortunes to be made, hundreds of millions of dollars…”? Can love really play in a world the poor get poorer and injustice oppresses so many?
 
Are we Christians hopelessly naïve when we insist that there is a still more excellent way?
 
Can love make a difference in our world? The Christian says “yes” because love is not just an asset. Love is not some vague concept to be defined by my experience. Love is personal, knowable, and strong. Love is the event at the center of time. “In this is love…
 
We can take love into the streets where we live and to Wall Street and beyond. We walk to stop hunger or race for education. We use a little of the lesser asset called money to sponsor a child in Guatemala. We rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
 
Might love like that actually change the world? Yes. Because God is love. And God never sleeps.