Feb. 3, 2014
Jesus said, “A nobleman living in a certain province was called away to the distant capital of the empire to be crowned king of his province. Before he left he called together ten assistants and gave them each $2,000 to invest while he was gone.”
A regular paycheck. I’d kind of forgotten what it was to get one. Last summer/fall, Rick and I made the choice to change my occupation which meant I gave up getting a regular paycheck. Not to be misleading, I did receive some compensation. But our income changed. We knew this was going to happen and planned for it. We also were confident it would enrich our lives, which it definitely did.
Now with a regular and consistent job(s) again, I get paychecks. When I received the first one with my name in the “Pay to” area, I felt 13. A bit prideful, I was caught off guard by how it felt to earn money again. I was not prepared for this.
Amazingly, I still feel this way each time I receive a paycheck. I’m unsure how to respond. Pleased I earn an income? Satisfied my gifts are rewarded? Happy I am financially contributing more to our family?
About 15 years ago, I lived overseas as a missionary and taught English at a state-run university. While we were to be paid $150/month, we were never paid on time and never our full salary. It was a wonderful lesson on learning the difference between wants and needs, stretching an income, doing with less. This time around, it was different. We had a consistent income via Rick but our expenses are more than when I lived in Kazakstan. Yet, we never felt we had to live without. Yes, we changed our priorities. We cut back in appropriate ways. I feel we have historically been generous people and we had to be more mindful of this. We were committed to giving a tithe to God first and letting the rest take care of itself, which it always did.
I do not want compare myself to a person who struggles because of an inadequate wage who is raising a young family. We have the comfort of savings and resources. Previously, I felt we had been biblical money managers. When we received money, we managed it Jesus instructed in the story from Luke 19. What I have learned now is that when I get a paycheck, I am even more mindful of how far I can stretch it than I did a year ago. I am more committed to giving away all I can, saving all I can and living as simply as I can, a thought hallmarked by the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley.
This process has been a great reminder that while we “think” we’re doing well, there are always opportunities for sharpening our lives to live more in-line with God’s priorities and choices. I am thankful that once again, God has provided me with an opportunity to do so.
Every day, Lord God, I am amazed at the significant blessings I have: a warm home, a dependable vehicle, more-than adequate food and a closet full of clothes. I have cash in my billfold and all of my needs met. I am blessed. I pray for those who do not have these basic needs met. Challenge me to reach out to someone who I can help this day, this week. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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