Here is the post I wrote this week at 2nds, my church’s blog.
The past few years have been financially difficult for many of us. Maybe you lost your job and it took awhile to get another. Maybe you’re still searching. Maybe you lost some of your income, which caused you to wonder if bankruptcy would be the only way out. Maybe, like someone I spoke to recently, you lost your house to foreclosure, and you had to explain to your kids why you were moving.
This is not a plug for Financial Peace University. Although, I’d recommend the class anytime, anywhere, to anyone, because I’m grateful for the principles we learned that got us through eight months of making about a quarter of my prior income.
What I’ve realized looking back on that time (a wonderful time, actually, when Cindy carried then delivered Micah) is that we never came close to losing our house, and our pantry, though it dwindled, kept us fed, and water was as accessible as the kitchen faucet. For that matter, we could drink from the pool in our backyard, if we had to.
Basically, we were wealthier than most people in the world. (And far more now, considering I have a job and we’re building our savings back up.) But I ask, why have we been blessed with such abundance? Why has it been afforded that I was born and live in the most prosperous—though heavily borrowed—nation in the world?
Why does God bless us with anything? Talents and abilities? To sing, to write, to build, to create, to communicate, to fix? Scripture is clear that what God gives us, he expects for us to invest in others.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. —1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV
Yes, what God gives is meant for our enjoyment but not at the expense of others. Now, I don’t have to feel guilty for being rich—remember, we in America all are—if I don’t set my hope on it and freely give. God is the provider and in turn wants me to provide. It’s a recurring question for me and one I pray you’ll also ask of yourself: What can I provide for someone else today?
Maybe it’s someone you know. A family member perhaps. Maybe it’s a friend of a friend. It could be a village across the world or someone down the street.
When we let go and give away our money, our time, our abilities, our emotional and relational energy, then we can “take hold of that which is truly life.” Who can I give to? And what can I give?
Another question, and I’ll leave you with this: Where might God be asking us to go? If he’s been speaking to your heart about this, then I’ve nothing to add. If he hasn’t, perhaps you can ask and listen openly.