I recognize that I am young, but God has begun to take me on a journey in understanding how money can either
enrich my life or deplete it.
I have learned the joy of being generous and the lack of joy when I am greedy with money. There is a real struggle between
generosity and greed.
On the outside, it seems more enjoyable to receive and save money than it does to give; however, I am realizing there is far more
lasting joy in giving!At a young age, I was a money saver, almost to a fault. For any birthday, Christmas or other holiday when I would receive money I would store it away and refuse to spend it. My parents would even try to force me to buy things for myself, and I often refused. I was so frugal with money that by age 24, I had saved close to $35,000 in my savings account. I'm not sure why I was fearful of spending money to the point where I saved that much but I do see now how God used this to later sanctify me in the area of generosity.
This is where the struggle between selfishness and generosity really hit home for me. Little did I know that I was going to be marrying a man with $85,000 of medical school debt and have to make the decision on if I was going to partner with him in paying it off when we got married. So, because we came together in our finances when we got married, all the money I had saved up for 20 years was all going to be gone in the blink of an eye...towards this monster calleddebt.
(My husband was worth every last penny:) )
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For
we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
-1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17, 19-
lay down my money at the foot of the cross.
Step number two in paying off Garrett's debt was selling the Tahoe. I never realized how much a possession could
make me feel valued, mainly in a worldly sense.
When I was driving the Tahoe, I secretly loved the looks I would get from people assuming I was important because of what I drove. It was so materialistic for me to love the attention and value I received from the world simply because of this fancy SUV. However, I was blind to the identity I found in it until I felt like God asked me to surrender the Tahoe to Him. My heart battled between simply accepting God's unconditional value, or the love and attention I was receiving from the world.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money."
However, when our heart's idols are laid before God, He is able to bless us with something greater:
True JOY in the LORD.
'The Pearl Necklace Story'
Below is a story of a girl who gets to experience the
JOY OF SURRENDERING
to God and how He blessing our sacrifice:
“The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.
"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.
"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.
God knew what He was doing when he put two sinners in a covenant relationship to glorify Himself, because one of my husband's spiritual gifts is giving generously. A struggle for me is one of my husband's greatest spiritual strengths. I am grateful that God placed him in my life to draw me out of my comfort and idols so that I could experience more of His love.
My challenge for you, who are reading this, is to
What is it that tells you
"I have value if I have this to present to the world"?
Let GO. Whether it's letting go of something physically (like my Tahoe experience) or emotionally, I challenge you to open your grip and allow God to tell you if it is His best "pearls" for you. If it's not, trust that He will replace it with something far greater than you can comprehend. If it is His will for you to have it in your life, worship the Lord with it in every way you can.