I need new work boots and jeans. The road trip I have been planning has been cancelled, for entirely non-COVID-related reasons, and God has put a fresh idea in my mind. I am handling the change of plans in a manner that proves my depression is under control, and I am seeking to make good use of my vacation time. I don’t want my life to be ‘a striving after wind.’ I don’t want the many words that I write and speak to be merely wind, either. Almost immediately after we decided to cancel our trip, God put this thought in my head: Samaritan’s Purse will be helping fire victims here in California, and I should look into helping.
I spend a lot of time writing, but not doing. I don’t want to leave behind pages upon pages of words that didn’t translate into action. I reflect on my life and wonder if I am doing anything worthwhile. God is showing me that this is foolish, Leah-centered thinking. God created me for Him, not vice-versa. I am called to be His servant, and I need to listen, obey, and not worry about the results. God is also telling me to engage in less thinking and more doing because “. ..faith apart from works is useless.” (James 2:20b) I am sitting on the sidelines of Christian ministry, cheering on and supporting others, but not playing all of the roles that God has equipped me for. I believe we are all called to give and to serve.
And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”Luke 12:16-21
For a few years, I have wished that I were in a position to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse after natural disasters, here in the United States, but I am not able to take off from work and travel around at a moment’s notice. So, when I read about the work the ministry is doing, I think, “Maybe someday. . .” Now, here I am with a vacation coming up and no set plans. I can’t be certain if it will work out for me to serve, but it will never happen if I don’t make an effort to plan and prepare. I feel an excitement to get to work. When we discover the areas that God has gifted us in, we are excited for that work.
God has entrusted me with talents and resources. I need to look carefully into how I steward not only my money and time, but my skills, strength, and health. A cancelled vacation created a significant opening in my budget, and my first thoughts were how I was going to spend some it and then squirrel away the rest in savings. Saving it isn’t a bad inclination, but I sense that God wants me to invest some of it – and I don’t mean in my 401k! I remember the wicked servant who buried the master’s money in the ground. (Matthew 25:14-30) I have been thinking about the quote, “I want the last check I write to bounce.” I don’t know who said that first. It could proclaim a selfish desire to enjoy one’s wealth, but to me, it expresses the Biblical idea of not storing up treasure on earth.
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 they may take hold of that which is truly life.1 Timothy 6:17-19
I don’t plan to leave behind a last, unpaid debt, but as a single person, I don’t need to make plans for someone I am leaving behind. I only need to plan responsibly for my own needs, and I must do that in a way which places trust in God to provide. Worldly wealth left behind is money that I could have invested in God’s kingdom. This is where I tend to disagree with Dave Ramsey, though I enjoy listening to his radio program. He encourages “outrageous generosity,” but seemingly as an end result of having succeeded in building wealth. While Mr. Ramsey encourages tithing along one’s journey, I believe God calls us to be more generous than that and less focused on gaining worldly wealth.
I know I’ve said it before: the majority of Americans are deceived into believing that they are poor, when in reality they are rich. When we give sacrificially, God has a way of showing us how extremely blessed we really are. I am going to invest in new work attire, not for the office, but for manual labor. Lord willing, I will take a shorter road trip which will be a more profitable investment of my resources. I don’t know why, but I think I will still have fun, even if it is hard work. Working beside my father has taught me the joy of physical labor. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, as long as I can wash them when I am done. Which puts me in mind that I will need some new work gloves, also.