Exit the Warrior: Thoughts on Neil Peart’s Retirement

international-musician-07.1984-5Word came this afternoon through a variety of online classic rock and musician sites that drummer Neil Peart (pronounced “PEERT” for the uninitiated. Accept no substitutes.) is putting away his ProMark 747 drum sticks for good. His announcement was a subtle one, as befitting a thoughtful wordsmith like Neil:

“Lately Olivia [his young daughter] has been introducing me to new friends at school as ‘My dad– He’s a retired drummer.’ True to say–funny to hear. And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song ‘Losing It’ (‘Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it’).”

My first reaction was sadness, immediately followed by a sense of gladness for him, his family, and all that he accomplished as a musician and lyricist. I saw Rush on the R40 Tour in Denver this July, which was billed as likely being their “last tour of this magnitude” and Neil was as good as ever, as were Geddy and Alex, of course. I once heard a quote attributed to Stewart Copeland (another member of the Mount Rushmore of rock drummers) where he reminded those sit behind the kit: “The singer doesn’t need you. You need the singer. No one shows up at a concert for two hours of a drum solo.” It may be an apocryphal quote, but that makes it no less true of any drummer and any band. Rush is (was?) truly the sum of all three of its parts. If this is the end of their 40 year run as a band, they are going out on top.

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Give All You Can

Luke 19:1-10

zacchaeus-1

“Zacchaeus” by Joel Whitehead. Retrieved from textweek.com

We’ve come to the end of our series on Wesley’s Rules for the Use of Money, where we’ve talked so far about earning all you can and saving all you can. But now we come to the third rule which, in many ways, is the goal of the other two—that we “give all we can.”

There are a lot of Scriptures we can point to in the Bible that are about giving all that we can. We might turn to Luke 21, for example and look at the story of the widow who gives one small coin at the Temple, and Jesus says her gift is more valuable because she gave it sacrificially as opposed to the rich who gave out of their leftovers. We could point to Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians to give cheerfully, or we could take another tack altogether and look at Acts 5 at the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who hold back part of the gift they promised to the church and, when confronted with their deception, drop dead on the spot. I’m actually surprised we don’t use that one more often when talking about giving!

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Wesley’s Rules for Money: Save All You Can

Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 25:14-30

talentSo, here’s another parable featuring money which indicates Jesus’ concern over its use or misuse, though this parable actually fits within the larger context of preparing for the coming kingdom of God. It’s sandwiched between the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids and Jesus’ warning about the judgment of the nations. The overarching question of this section is this: will you be ready when the Master returns?

Here again, like last week, we have a wealthy man who leaves his wealth in charge of three servants. The “talents” here are large sums of money—one being worth several years of wages. Two of the servants take the talents given to them and invest them in ways that bring a huge return (imagine, for example, what kind of investment it would take today to double the money). The third servant, however, is more risk adverse and buries the talent in the ground—he didn’t even put it in a savings account to earn that .02% interest they’re giving us today. The moral of the story for Jesus? Will you take the risk of investing the master’s resources in ways that benefit his estate, or will you choose a scarcity mentality and simply sit on it or, perhaps worse, invest it in assuaging your own fears and desires? What will we do with the things God has given us to manage?

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Wesley’s Rules for Money: Earn All You Can

Luke 16:1-13

parable-of-the-dishonest-stewardThis has to be the weirdest of Jesus’ parables. Everything seems backwards—a “dishonest” manager is commended? The children of this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than “the people of light” (i.e. God’s people)? Use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves? It’s no wonder that a lot of preachers leave this one alone.

John Wesley did not, however. In fact, he made this text the basis for his sermon “On the Use of Money,” and when we dive into the parable a little more closely we can see why, especially when it comes to our topic today—Wesley’s first rule on the use of money: “Earn all you can.”

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If You Could Ask For Anything…

First in the series, “Earn, Save, Give: Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money”

I Kings 3:1-14

use of moneyWow, can you imagine God coming to you tonight and saying to you, “Ask for whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you?” What would you ask for? Some would ask for wealth, no doubt, others for better health. Some may ask for a relationship, others for talent, still others might ask for more wishes!

The question, however, is whether we’d know what to do if we actually got what we wished for. Lottery winners, for example, see their wishes come true when they hit the big jackpot, but most lottery winners wind up miserable because they don’t have a good plan for what to do with the money. We might ask God for good health but we may not have the ability to maintain it. We could have a special talent or ability but squander it in the wrong place.

Maybe this is why God doesn’t make this offer very often!

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