Encouragement for Today - Jan. 29, 2007
A $5 Wallet
John 15:1-2, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (NIV)
“Wouldn’t it be weird if someone only had $5, then bought a $5 wallet?”
My 11-year-old son Robbie laughed at his own wit, as he related this latest pearl of wisdom. After passing along that gem of insight, he ran off to play. I considered his words, and the idea of someone spending their last dime on something, only to be unable to use it properly.
What started out as a humorous observation became a haunting question for me over the next few weeks. I knew God had a message in it for me, and one day I got it! I was that woman who bought a $5 wallet with her last $5. Only it wasn’t money spent on a wallet. It was my life!
A woman who spends all her money is living with no margin for financial emergencies. She doesn’t even have money for necessities. However, my problem wasn’t monetary. It was my schedule. I had invested so much of my time in “good” activities that I had no margin in my days or my life for any emergency, let alone all the things I had to do. My overloaded schedule left me drained and empty, both emotionally and relationally.
The year 2006 was a challenging one for me. My husband’s consulting business was growing, which left me assuming most of the household responsibilities. Plus our two adopted daughters consumed so much of my time. Add to that the needs of our other three children, the blessings of my own work, volunteer roles, writing and speaking, and I knew I was on overload. There was simply no margin in my life. Christmas was the final straw when I barely got the tree up and then left it sparsely decorated.
So I started praying and asking the Lord to reveal the things that needed to be dropped. A few things were easy and obvious and those went quickly. I had to ask for help in a few areas of my life, and am learning to accept things done around the house in ways different from mine. I’m still praying because there’s more to be pruned. The last options are big and I need to be sure of the Lord’s direction before I eliminate something based on my frustration rather than the Lord’s leading.
My son’s innocent comment has become a profound guiding principle in my life. I don’t want to be the woman with a beautiful wallet that is empty on the inside. I know Jesus came to give me an abundant life, but that meant spiritually, not an over-flowing to-do list.
In 2007, I think I’ll keep that “$5” and forgo the “wallet.” I’d rather have the margin (and the spiritual, emotional and relational health that comes with it) than more great opportunities.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the wonderful blessings You have given me. I thank You for my church, ministry opportunities, my job, family and for health. Help me to align my priorities every day with Yours, and to make decisions that bring honor and glory to You through how I live my life. Please show me what I need to prune in order to create more margin in my schedule. I want to give You all the glory through my obedience. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
When You’re Running on Empty by Cindi McMenamin
Consider if your schedule is overcrowded. Ask God to reveal one responsibility that can be delegated or released. Then act upon His answer.
What does having margin in our schedules really mean?
Why would God want us to have more flexible time?
What relationships/commitments take the most time in your life? Are these at the top of your priority list?
What is one thing you know God is asking you to do, but you haven’t done yet?
Why haven’t you done this?
John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NAS)
Isaiah 26:3, “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” (TEV)
Ephesians 5:17, “Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.” (MSG)
P.S. We wanted to let you know that Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, will be on the Oprah Winfrey TV show this Monday, January 29th to share the amazing story of adopting her two sons from war-torn Liberia, Africa.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105