It’s Wednesday again! And guess what? I’m really, really on my way home! (I hope… Because I wrote this intro before I left and was depending on a schedule instead of real life circumstances…) And if the schedule that American Airlines gave us is correct, I’ll be home sometime this afternoon! Woo Hoo! And guess what that means? It means that maybe—if jet lag holds off a few hours—I might be able to drop in and comment on some of your discussion today!
Now, let’s get down to business! As I told you last week, my dear Brother-Friend and co-facilitator, Jason, has the link widget over at his site—Connecting to Impact. So, when you get done here, you’re definitely going to want to go over to his place and join in the discussion there.
And here we go with Chapter 10…
When You Believe in God but Trust More in Money
I may or may not have been whining a little when I said it.
“I don’t get this chapter. I don’t identify with it at all. How can I write a post about it?”
My Dad simply nodded, watching and waiting for the stoplight to turn green.
“I’ve never been a greedy person. I just do the best I can with what I’ve got.”
My Dad nodded again. He may have grunted as he turned onto Cumberland Street. I realized he wasn’t going to respond and settled for glaring out the windshield at the evening traffic on the main drag through the little city of Dunn.
You don’t worry about money?
The question whispered in my heart stopped me in my train of thought. That’s right. I do worry about money.
And you don’t think that worrying about money is making it an idol ahead of Me?
Ouch. That was a direct hit, Lord. A direct hit.
Okay, so maybe I understand this chapter a little more than I thought. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more examples came to my mind of how I’ve allowed my worry about money and security control me.
I’m blessed. I have a degree and a full-time job and so, really, I’m comfortable. Most months, my money and my month run out at about the same time. I don’t have a lot of extras, but I have enough. I own a home (thanks to an incredible realtor who God used to make a miracle happen) and thus far in my life, when I’ve run into things I couldn’t handle financially (like when squirrels got under the hood of my car & chewed their way into $1,100 worth of repairs) my parents have been able to help me.
It’s been a long time since I’ve really been in need.
But you know, really, not so long ago.
In August of 1998, I packed everything I owned (which wasn’t much) and moved to The City. I was three hours away from my parents, living in a room about half the size of the master bedroom I currently inhabit. I had one friend in The City—my boyfriend—who was more broke than I was. I had a temporary, part-time job that I kept for about two weeks. I got another temporary, part-time job only to have the business close after a few months. I was supporting myself and my boyfriend on thirty-five hours a week of minimum wage. I was driving a twenty-year-old car, had no health insurance, and was pretty much living off of spaghetti, apples, peanut butter, and ramen noodles.
That experience taught me a lot of pretty bad habits. It taught me how to starve myself to keep enough money in my bank account to keep the lights on. It taught me how to not tithe. It taught me to sacrifice my personal safety for the sake of money. It taught me how to value money more than health or sanity. Still, though I have health insurance and steady income, when I get sick, my first frantic thought is, “I can’t afford to go to the doctor.”
I had to read this chapter twice, because the first time I read it, I read it through the lenses of, “This doesn’t apply to me because I’m not greedy.” And after God adjusted my attitude, the second time I read it through the lenses of conviction that I had two sins that this chapter touched: worry and idolatry.
What’s the remedy? Repentance. And leaning on the scripture. Here’s a few that I think might help me and maybe you, too, if you are where I am:
Exodus 20:3 (New International Version)
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Luke 12:34 (New International Version)
34”For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:25-34 (New International Version)
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”