More related to last post. On the to-do list today: grocery shopping, treat both dogs for flea & ticks, straighten guest room, clean house, take kids to student group at church, plant blueberry bushes…
Thankful, thankful, thankful to be able to do these things.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Folding laundry. Washing dishes. Picking up behind children. Same things done over and over without pay and without recognition. The Holy Spirit reminds me of the scripture that says to “Therefore, whether you eat or drink whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) The eat and drink is about clean and unclean for Hebrew law, but the whatever is really about anything and everything we do, that we can do it for the glory of God. Can we sin to the glory of God? No. But I can wash the same dish, pick up those shoes, drive that same route as a soccer mom for the glory of God.
In his classic daily devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says,
It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most common place thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lords does a thing through us, He always transfigures it (February 19th, The Initiative Against Drudgery).
Today I stopped by a second-hand store looking for one item. I greeted my friend who happened to be working with a hug. She had 6 or 7 hangers of clothes on her left hand and was placing them on the racks one at a time. Very common place. I happen to know she struggles with hand issues and pain, that this job she needs as she cares for her family is drudgery. This work is also ministry, to those who find Walmart prices too much, to those who strive to get the best deals on little things so they can better use the provisions God has given them elsewhere. My friend’s work is transfigured, changed into glorious work by our Lord God.
Whatever you and I have to do today, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
Z is for a review with quick links. A to Z isn’t the end, but I hope this covers the biggies and give you a great place to start. With 2,000 verses about money, the topic is second only to love in God’s word. I believe He wants us to handle with care. –Kristin
When I was in high school, a family member of mine thought I shouldn’t date an African-American because we would “unequally yoked.” This was a phrase I had heard and heard it applied to marriage, but that interpretation sounded really wrong. It’s another instance of scripture being taken or quoted out of context to say something God never intended. The scripture actually says this:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [a wicked being, devil]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
The picture of this binding relationship is one of two oxen in a yoked together. Yoked the two become “one working unit…for the purpose of accomplishing a task” and this applied to business partners and marriage because in both situations two make a contract where “each is individually and jointly reliable for each action of the marriage or business.” Larry Burkett goes on to say that “God admonishes us…because we have different value systems. People with opposite goals and values will not be compatible.” It’ a recipe for conflict and hurt.
Frequently partners discover how not-on-the-same-page they are when money issues rise up, when tough times press in. Being of one mind, and especially of one Spirit will make all the difference in the world, and it has nothing to do with the color of our skin.
Do you ever have a surplus? A bonus? An unexpected windfall? A raise? Do we make a plan for these funds? Or do they all get spent so fast (sometimes before they’ve actually come in) that a month later we can’t even remember what happened to the money?
When my husband and I were in debt,we always had a well-defined plan for windfalls: 10% tithe, 50% debt, the rest split between savings, spending and additional offerings. It was after we’d lived debt free which frees up money in and of itself, that the decisions became muddied.
People tend to think budgets are for people with restricted finances, but I believe a spending plan is even more important for those who have plenty. Revisiting the question, how much is enough? Setting a limit on spending when the world will always offer bigger, faster, better than HD, luxury items is a challenge. It’s one reason the Bible contains so many warnings about wealth.
Jesus looked at him an said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God? For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24-25)
We hear this scripture and think it sounds impossible for the rich man. But in the days when towns had walls and gates, the smaller opening in the large doors that could be opened just for a man to walk through were dubbed “the eye of the needle.” So it wasn’t impossible to get a camel through that opening, just extremely difficult.
Can we be content with a stow-and-go van purchased second-hand for a 1/3 of the price when the world tells us with a little financing we can afford the extended SUV with a premium package? When the bank runs the numbers and says we can easily buy a $250,000 house on a 30 year loan with a fixed 5% interest, do we shop for a $150,000 house that has just as many rooms and meets our needs?
If you have a shopping list, you can probably break it down by needs, wants and desires. We were running short with the transition out of army life, and for grocery shopping I got the ground beef (need) when the ground chuck (want) was healthier and the London broil (desire) was looking tempting. God doesn’t promise us everything we want.
We acknowledge and pray the verse “May God supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), and when our needs are supplied, we actually get lots of our wants, then we look to our desires. Are we looking to the needs of our local church? The poor and needy? The projects and missions we’ve always said we’d love to support? Do we put our money where our mouth is, or do we go upgrade our phone and complain about the new operating system?
These questions are for me as much as anyone. God has come through in a big way for us recently with regards to post-military finances. Asking God for direction and waiting for His answers is what I need to be doing with Ryan.
All these financial matters from A to Z of this series are not only issues of money, possessions, finances and attitudes. These are kingdom issues, areas to make decisions to build up treasures that God holds for us beyond “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
Do we want to do more for God? More for our savior Jesus Christ? More Spirit-lead?
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust true riches to you? (Luke 16:10-11)
Dear Lord, help us search your word and apply directions to become faithful in the little things. We don’t want to miss out on serving you with all we have and being entrusted with true riches.
Have you ever been folding a t-shirt and wondered how many times you’ve washed and folded it? Cleaning a plate or a pot and wondered how many times you will wash it? Much work is repetitive and menial, but even these small chores can be done for God.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17).
“Thank you, Lord, for this t-shirt. I folded it in Your Name.”
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (Colossians 3:23).
Teaching these students for God. Balancing the checkbook for Jesus. Moving the lawn for the Lord.
He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty (Proverbs 28:19).
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues vain things lacks sense (Proverbs 12:11).
What vain things am I pursuing? We all need rest, but do I spend too much time watching TV, playing app games? Am I disconnecting from the important people in my life too much with headphones of music or my nose stuck in a book?
Are you “making the most of your time” as we’re directed in Ephesians? Are we “numbering the days” so we can “present You a heart of wisdom?”
Reading through the Proverbs you’ll practically trip over scriptures to do with either the diligent, hard, wise worker or the opposite, the sluggard, slothful, lazy fool.
These verses are not to berate us. We are not to beat ourselves up for our failures. No. And they are absolutely not a measure we should apply to others and point fingers. No. This is written to encourage us, to show us better paths, to live purposeful lives not only filled but fulfilled.
I don’t want to just be busy when I could be diligent, resolute, and working toward higher things. Not only doing what is good but doing what is actually best for this time, this place, these people in my life. Falls are inevitable, but my God lifts me up to help me go forward again. He shows me that all work, if done for Him, holds value. So I can vacuum the floor, shop for groceries, and fill the gas tank for greater things.