Poverty, Money and Relationships…..
Poverty is the result of our broken relationship with God, self, others, and the rest of creation.
I think we all know people who are materially poor yet spiritually rich; and the opposite. We also know people who are materially rich and spiritually rich.
Sadly, we know people who are materially poor and spiritually bankrupt. Money and relationships go together.
It is this last group to which I spend a fair amount of time working along side, mentoring and encouraging them to make good choices; to work with what they have. I try to help them understand the value of God’s Word.
Guided by God’s Word
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NLT)
All Scripture… is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16)
A young man was broke and called and asked me to drive 30 miles in order to take him somewhere because he didn’t have money for the bus. Yet somehow he had resources to “enjoy” some spirited drinks and was proud of his activity as displayed on Facebook.
On another day I received a call from a middle-aged man who couldn’t afford $1.50 copay for a prescription. This same man called me two weeks later talking about his plans to purchase a pet. When I asked about the apparent discrepancy here, he said that he would have funds available in 3 months as soon as he finished paying off some rent to own items which he “had to have”.
These decisions are miss-placed priorities, to say the least. Mentoring is “telling”, “pushing” someone toward a desired goal. The goal is to walk in faith in Christ. Whenever the opportunity is available, I try to steer these and others in the right direction. Proverbs 1:30-31 (NLT) reminds us that we reap the results of our choices:
Here’s an admonition from God’s Word NOT TO SAY NO…The consequences for rejecting godly advise.
“They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes.”
Saying Thanking You…..
I would like to highlight two donors. One has been a friend of many years who has faithfully given us $5.00 a month. Another has been faithful since we started. They have made a sacrificial gift nearly every month. We are grateful for every commitment made. Together we help build and strengthen the Kingdom of God. Strangers do not support our work. Friends do. All our relationships and all our dollars work together toward kingdom work.
Reflecting on a Personal Policy of Giving
I was recently challenged with thoughts shared by C. S. Lewis: in “Mere Christianity”, to think about how I make giving choices. He said, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusement, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them.”
Something to ponder!
Note: my good friend posted this on Facebook recently. So many lessons in so few words.
It never ceases to amaze me how church has become a “happy gathering place.” Not everyone is happy. People are hurting. You can slide in and slip out without anyone caring to notice the pain in your eyes. Yet God is there and your soul that is longing to know Him is able to find truth even in a sea of people and programs. Even still, in the midst of coffee, worship, trending sermons and service kiosks we search to please God. To please God is to obey and to obey is sacrifice. To sacrifice is to roll up your sleeves and get you hands dirty, to love and serve with a heart forgiven by an Almighty God.
I think of my grandmother who was rejected for being an alcoholic. She wasn’t ever going to go to church. She once wrote a note that said ” if there is a God where can I find Him in this abyss?” This note was a heart cry of desperation from a life stained with guilt and regret.
My Mom was the only one who cared for her. My mom came to Jesus because someone rolled up there sleeves, faced the awkward and sacrificed to go to her. It was tough, but my Mom accepted Jesus as a result of this sacrifice and then told my grandma about Jesus. My Grandma was later saved by Jesus from the “abyss”. That truth of salvation was later shared with me and then to Bob and now my kids.
The church doesn’t need anymore coffee bars.
The church needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the broken. That’s not a happy place, that’s a tear stained pursuit of joy that can only come from the Lord.
Footnote: “Give her the reward of her labor…” Proverbs 31:31