we don’t have a very big income (though technically we’re pretty safely above the poverty line, i can’t believe there are people who manage to live at the official poverty level without necessarily relying on social welfare options… but that’s a whole other rant). but know what’s funny is that i hardly ever notice it, the small income. i don’t feel like someone who’s poor. maybe it’s because we haven’t bought into aspects of the american dream that cost lots of money and then make you feel poor because you can’t attain them. we haven’t placed much value on new vehicles, gym memberships, eating out, yearly vacations, cable television (or television at all), or new clothes every season. and somethings that many would consider essential we’ve decided to risk going without (like full coverage health insurance or life insurance or regular doctors appointments). and besides all that, we’ve gotten to see how Papa provides for us in all the necessities and even some frivolous things.
so the only time i feel poor is probably christmas time, when i’d like to do special things and give lovely gifts. or when i’m wishing for an international vacation. or when the car needs repairs unexpectedly and we have to empty our savings account to cover them.
the other night in evening prayer, unbeknownst to me, maria was wrestling with God over the fact that He seemed to be nudging her to nudge the rest of us to spend some time praying about finances. she had just gotten done saying, “oh, but can’t you send someone else?!” when i said aloud to the group, “i have an idea… i think that we should write on small pieces of paper whatever financial concerns we have… put them in the middle and pray over them together.” ha! so there it was. and each person present in the prayer room spent a couple solid minutes scribbling down all the places where they have any worry of any sort about money (which tells me we’ve all got these worries). we piled those things in the middle, stretched out our hands over them and prayed aloud, simultaneously, for several minutes. we recalled the goodness and the wealth of God, His character as a father who delights to give good gifts to His kids, and we asked Him to make a way for us, to cover our needs in a way that reminds us afresh of His capacity and kindness. then we burned those pieces of paper, symbolically leaving our concerns in the ashes. we laughed.
so when i think about some of the things i’d love to do in the near future — buy a house, have a baby, upgrade my camera equipment, travel to africa — and all the associated costs of those things…. i have no idea where that money’s gonna come from. i don’t have a plan. but i love knowing that we can step out in faith and confidently work towards having that house and that baby and that missions trip even though we haven’t got any idea how we’ll fund it. because we’re not making decisions based around money or lack thereof, we’re making decisions based on what the Father says.
seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well…
meantime, i’m wealthy. no doubt about it. if i had to choose great material wealth with relational depravity OR limited material wealth with relational fullness, i would certainly choose the latter. and have.