We continue our fictional story of Fran and Jesus, as Fran struggles with not enough money to pay all the bills. She says to Jesus, “If I just had more money, all my problems would be solved.”

But Jesus replies, “Do you remember, Fran, what I taught the disciples in my Sermon on the Mount? You cannot serve both God and Money. Money is a powerful thing, and it can cause you to be its slave.”

“Yes, I remember,” Fran replies, “but I still have to have money to pay these bills.” Wearily she goes to bed, taking those financial worries with her.

At work the next day, her phone rings. “Mrs. Langley,” the voice says.

“Yes,” Fran replies.

“Mrs. Langley, I’m calling for Dr. Carrow. I wanted to inquire about the bill for Alice’s dental work. It’s past due and we were wondering when you might be able to pay it?”

Fran is stunned as she realizes that this is a collection call. “Uh,” she mutters, very embarrassed, “well, I know it’s a little late, but I’ll try to pay right away. I’m sorry, it’s just that so many bills have come due this month—I’m sorry.”

“Are you saying then that you’ll get a check off to us soon? When can we expect it, Mrs. Langley?” the cold voice asks on the other end of the phone.

“Uh, well,” Fran tries to think, “I’ll try to get a check off this week.”

“Then we can expect full payment this week, is that right Mrs. Langley?” he continues.

Fran is embarrassed and angry at this whole conversation. She slams the phone down. She has never been so humiliated in her life. The rest of the day is pretty much a wipe-out because Fran can’t think of anything else. Several times during the day, Jesus tries to get her attention, but she’s so wrapped up in her self-pity that she is not even aware of his presence.

She stops to fill the gas tank on the way home, and the attendant says to her, “Lady, these two tires on the back. . .well there’s hardly any tread left. You oughta get some new tires soon, I think.”

Fran can’t believe her ears. Then, as she arrives home, Drew rushes up to her. “Mom, what happened? We can’t get the Disney Channel anymore?”

“Oh, Drew, I cancelled the cable service today,” Fran replies. “We can’t afford it anymore.”

“What do you mean we can’t afford it? We’ve always afforded it before,” Drew asks.

“Now, listen to me son,” Fran grabs him by the shoulders, “I’m doing the best I can. I have to cut costs, and we can do without cable television. What’s more, we’re probably going to have to sell the house and move to a cheaper place.”

As soon as she says it, she knows she said the wrong thing.

Have money problems ever gotten you down like this?