One of the disciples had lost his job, and that was the talk of the day. Some of the disciples were indignant, and other were trying to console their jobless companion. The unemployed man sought comfort from Elia, and so he spoke,
“Your crises are many but your follies are more. You sow the seed of your failure in the season of your success and through overdoses sicken yourself with the same medicine that would cure you.
You have a love affair with money and I do not blame you. I cannot see you ridding yourself of your mansions, even though a cottage might adequately house you, nor salvaging your sports vehicle even though a simple automobile might adequately carry you to your destination. More virtuous nations were obsessed with cattle and offspring; your cattle have become shares of ownership and your offspring’s education fees would feed a dozen babies in a poor nation.
And I would drive the underwriters from the temple, but not with a whip; I would give their own temple, with its own sacraments and holy days. There is much holiness in work in that it produces value; and value must be managed and banked, and your world of men must needs symbolize value with paper and coins.
Money is not itself the root of evil. Au contraire: money can be the root of much good.
Verily, loving matter for its comforts is not a folly unto itself nor is it a sin. No, but folly is the replacement of soul with matter, and sin is the reclamation of your inner fountain. Matter and soul: can we utter both in one breath? Is it not embarrassing to your sensibilities to unite them in speech?
Your downfall is not your liking of luxury, but your worship of it. And frivolousness is not the desiring of fame by those worthy of it, but the craving of fame by buffoons. These buffoons are not of ill-renown; they have no renown at all.
I have seen your tradesmen as haggling in the market. Let me state it plainly: their affliction is not that they seek gold; their affliction is greed. An overladen donkey collapses and the galley filled with stolen gold sinks.
And the same fools that would encourage you to run wild in the market-place would coming crying for alms when they have lost their pocket money on games of dice.
But even as I exhort you to be thrifty and economical, and invest wisely, I also warn you against falling on your faces into mass graves. You would want to be buried decently and individually, but you would exhort others to live collectively? Do not create a Leviathan that you cannot control and do not give one man all your sickles and pitchforks for safekeeping. Verily I say: you know best your seasons of sowing and harvest, and the farmer with the best produce gets the best price at the Friday market.