September 17, 2010
Where Your Treasure Is
"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal." Matthew 6:19 (NLT)
I was on my own at 17. I worked two jobs while attending a small community college and eventually left college because I ran out of funds. Three years later I married my husband. Over the next few years babies were born, with medical expenses incurred. Then I got sick: Cancer. It probably won't surprise you that because of these circumstances, there was a huge need in my life for financial stability.
I pinched pennies. I calculated paychecks to the last dime. I made lists of our debt month after month, figuring out how to pay them off quicker. I think financial gurus would say I was on the right track, but can I be honest? In the midst of my calculations and my overwhelming need for security, pinching pennies became not just a means to meet my goal and take care of our family, but it started to reflect my heart spiritually in the area of giving.
Even after I was secure. Even after our financial status was stable.
We tithed. We gave to others, even sacrificially. But my heart wasn't in it. As I placed a tithing envelope in the offering, I thought: What about our savings? Shouldn't we be building it? What about buying something new for us? Our car is older. The miles are racking up.
Friends would have been surprised at the battle that raged inside me. I was ashamed of it. They would have called me generous, but I knew the truth. I had worked so hard for such a long time that I had come to count on Suzie. I obeyed God in this area, but did I trust Him?
I desperately wanted a generous heart, no matter how much was in our bank account.
The first thing I felt God asking me to lay down was worry. As I prayed, I went back to all the times God had liberally cared for me. As an unsure young girl alone at 17, His love led me day by day. As a young mom overwhelmed at times, He wrapped me in security and grace. As a 31-year-old woman diagnosed with cancer, He filled me with faith that could only come from Christ.
My confidence in Him had nothing to do with money, but rather His presence in my life.
I put worry down, asking for the strength to abide in Him instead of fear.
The second thing I felt God asking me to lay down was resentment. Oh, Father, such a hard word. Are you sure that is the condition of my heart? And yet, there it was. Hidden from others, but clear as day to me and my Savior.
It's been years since that pivotal moment between me and Jesus. Recently I was talking with one of my daughters. "Remember when you used to worry about money?" she asked. I nodded, smiling. "You seem to be so different, Mom, and yet I know that you and Dad live on a strict budget, especially now that he's back in school. Do you have money I don't know about?" she teased.
Yes, baby, I do. But it has nothing to do with my bank account. It's a different kind of treasure, one that acknowledges how rich I am to have food on the table, a car that starts every time I turn the key, a family that loves me like crazy, and faith that runs deep. It's a treasure that is nestled inside, that is filled with joy when I drop off books at a shelter, or send a check to sponsor my beautiful Compassion International child, or respond to God's leading to give more than a tithe. It's a treasure that is a deep confidence in who God is.
In many ways I'll always be that 17-year-old girl wanting to be secure, but I've found a different kind of security. I may never be wealthy, but believe me when I say this: I'm rich beyond belief. I'm blessed, blessed, blessed.
Dear Jesus, You see my heart. You know my fears, insecurities, and hunger for stability. I pray I will see the vast riches around me, things others might not see as wealth, but in the end they are the most priceless. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The Woman I Am Becoming by T. Suzanne Eller
Visit Suzie's blog where she's giving away a few copies of her books and offering a unique challenge.
List the things that money provides for you.
List the things you provide for yourself.
List the things God provides for you.
In each, describe your heart condition. Is it in balance with today's scripture (Matthew 6:19-21)?
Temptation to depend on wealth is insidious, but the real problem lies with attitude rather than with the amount of possessions we have. ~Anonymous
Matthew 6:25-27, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?" (NLT)
© 2010 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105