I thought about posting this on my “Scripture as I See It” blog, but so few of you click over and this post has been brewing in my mind for a week. I am not trying to change your mind about your faith or your own view of life, but since this blog describes my personal journey, this is a significant piece for me.
Last week our District Superintendent preached before baptizing Leon and Wilson and Bart got to be “just the dad” for a few minutes. He chose this text, which he read from the Message, and it really hit home with me.
"You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.
"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met..“
I won’t go into great detail about why, but over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about how little money we have. Historically it hasn’t meant much to me that we don’t have much. I have been grateful for Bart’s ministry and his consistent providing for our family, and I try to tell him often. I have been glad to have a job that makes a difference in the world, even though I could be making a lot more money doing something else.
When I was 28 I was the equivalent of a college vice-president. I was single and I was making plenty of money. But at that point I felt God was asking me to spend two years in Mexico, so I sold everything, even cashed in my retirement plan, so that I could afford to be a volunteer without salary to help out a struggling college that trained pastors in that country.
Upon my return, I never got back into the “fast track” of my profession and had to start over. And only until recently was I able to match that income.
But this past year I got caught up in thinking about what it might be like to not have to worry about money at all. We live simply, but there are months when we have a hard time affording the basics and cut out all extras.
So I began to dream about what it would be like to not share 2,500 square feet with 10 other people. I started thinking about how it might be nice to have more than 2 bathrooms for the 11 of us. I thought about how it would be fun to take the kids shopping for clothes that weren’t on the clearance rack.... and it started to sound mighty good.
But as our D.S. pointed out after reading the above verses, money is a god of scarcity. It keeps you wanting more... bigger... better. It never satisfies. There is never enough of it. In contrast, God is a God of abundance. Where there may not be material possessions surrounding those who choose God as a priority, there is deep peace, contentment, joy. There is meaning, fulfillment, and a depth that is unlike anything that the god of money can provide.
And so now I am back to that realization. I won’t ever be opposed to having more money in the bank, but I truly don’t need it. I am content to serve God and allow Him to take care of the details. And, having watched my parents live this way all my life, I know that serving God is the best choice.