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Category Archives: Wealth

Beans and Beef

Sat down to a dinner of two hamburger patties (no bread or rolls in the house) and some beans from a can. My first thought was how meager the meal was and how I was “suffering”. My next thought was to laugh at myself, realizing that my meal is a veritable king’s feast to much of the world’s population.

I also had some chocolate pudding, from those inexpensive box mixes, that I had made up a few days ago. Not exactly starving here.

The can of beans came from the church pantry months ago, along with the pudding box. I am thankful for these gifts and thankful that I have an abundance, for all that I seem to lack compared to my American neighbors, including my fellow church members. The verse that comes to mind is the one about being content with food and clothing:

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 NLT (Bold print added)

I’m selling household items to prepare for putting my house on the market. Once the house sells, Lord willing, I don’t have any other permanent living arrangement lined up. My mom and step-dad have, once again, graciously opened their home to me. A friend from church offered for me to stay with her, but she really doesn’t have adequate space (her heart was in the right place, though, and I am so grateful for someone offering practical help and not just throwing out a “Prayin’ for ya!”).

On the one hand, I feel at peace, knowing that our Lord, while serving on Earth in the flesh said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” Luke 9:58 NLT  I feel comfort knowing that the Lord can be glorified in me, with or without a house.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I know that we are called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as all of our neighbors. It necessarily follows that if one is the helper then someone, at some point in time, has to be on the receiving end of that help; however, I dread being that person on the receiving end for an extended period of time. I don’t want to be someone else’s trial or “test of faith”.

I will, as God allows, graciously and gratefully accept help. But, I still cry to the Lord to strengthen me to once again be in a position where I may be the helper.

Recent job applications and interviews have come to a dead end so far. A client recently went back into hospice care and told me today that she no longer needs my services. She appeared sad and told me that she would write me a recommendation if I thought that would help me to find another position. I was really touched by that offer. She is weak and frail and yet she is thinking about my welfare.

I don’t know what the next few days, weeks, and months will bring. No one does. The Lord may return soon. He may call me home soon. Circumstances may improve. Circumstances may grow leaner. Whatever the case, I am thankful (though not as much as I should be) that God is teaching me to lean on Him, trust in Him, depend upon Him. All other supports have proved false. I will keep trusting in the One Who is able to do all things.

beef and beans

patricia grace

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Blessings, Finances, Trials, Wealth

 

Devil’s Advocate

Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing?  Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Job 1:9-11 

A recurring theme of my adult life has been one of struggling with work. Specifically, the struggle has been with finding work that both pays the bills and that I enjoy doing.  Most of my jobs have been low paid monotonous drudgery. For a few years, I found work that I liked well enough, that eventually offered decent pay, but with a boss that was emotionally uneven, controlling, and immature.

Now, I realize that my struggles are shared by millions. I know that my pain is not unique. Before anyone tells me to “deal with it and get on with it”, please know that I have done just that.

Currently, my earnings aren’t enough to pay bills. Since starting my own business, I’ve never stopped looking for full-time work elsewhere. I’ve only turned down jobs that didn’t offer more (or much more) than I already earn–and even then I would have accepted work that I could have done in addition to my current work. But, most offered hours that would necessitate trading my current position for another of much the same offering.

All around me at church, I know there are people struggling with many different issues. The prayer list is pretty much filled with health trials. (In fact, if you removed all the prayer requests that involved health issues, the requests could probably fit into only a few lines of print). However, I haven’t met anyone that is actually living a day-to-day, week-to-week existence. What I mean is that most of the people I meet have homes, cars, retirement accounts, benefits–all the “normal” stuff of a middle-class existence in America. They have enough to support them for months or years, even if they didn’t get a paycheck for a while.

My struggles seem so different from theirs. I have heard of some financial struggles, so I know I’m not the only one. But, overall, I am uncertain that the church feels a need to do much about it and I don’t see anyone suffering the trial of faith that I do when the financial picture turns bleak.

We do have a benevolence fund at our church. A voluntary collection is made every time we have the Lord’s Supper and the funds are set aside strictly to help church members “in need”.  I myself was a one time beneficiary of that fund. And what a joy and help it was! The help came, however, only after I sent a near begging plea to the church email prayer list (“Finances dire. Really needing more income. Praying God would be glorified in this, so that my unbelieving husband would see that God takes care of His children…” That’s pretty much the request I sent out).

When I’ve shared my struggle of faith, I get the response of “I’ll keep praying…” followed by averted eyes and distance.

When I read those verses in Job, I see myself in the words of Satan, and feel terrible for it. Please know, this is painful and embarrassing to admit, but I find myself wishing that God would look at the cozy and secure in my church and “knock them down a notch”. I wonder what the women would do if their husbands who support them sought to separate from them and they had to make their own way. I wonder what the wealthy men would do if God ceased to bless the work of their hands and instead made them work for minimum wage.

If “a man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” (From John 3:27), then even the work that people find to do and the ability to succeed in it must be a gift from God. The ability to work in that job must be from God, too.  The advice given to me will always be to “work more”, but the opportunities and the very ability to make a living come from God, not our own hands–“Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19, italics added.

Once again, I plead and cry out to God for mercy, grace, and HELP. Please help me, oh God. Please Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Grant me work and make me able and willing to work any job and pay my own bills so that I may “…lead a quiet life and attend to [my] own business and work with [my] hands… so that [I] will behave properly…and not be in any need.” From 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

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Verses taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Finances, Trials, Wealth

 

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