Sunday, September 19, 2010

Flipping The List

Every once in awhile I hear something that affects me profoundly.  Even less often I am moved to the point of deciding it's time to change and then DO!  Today is one of those few and far between moments.  Today I've had it! And that's a good thing.  It's one step in the right direction and one more finger letting go of my grasp on what I call mine. 

I've been thinking about it for months, what I just did.  But it's taken me awhile to get here.  I'll tell you where here is soon enough. Let me tell you the whole thing.  Tim and I? We're in the "Stupid Kids" category as Dave Ramsey calls it.  God's kids he loves but shakes his head at the way they act.  It's mostly me. I'm the spender. I've talked about this before. That's not new, I won't blather on about it.  Suffice it to say once again, and hopefully this time for the last time we are on our way to getting out of the "Stupid Kids" category and into the "Thatta Girl/Guy, I see potential, maybe I can use them afterall" category.

I've been listening to Andy Stanley at home instead of going out to church the last 3 weeks.  Today I listened to the 6th sermon in his series Balanced.  And it got to me.  I'm still fighting it all the way.  I have to admit my fist is still pretty firmly grasping and "Mine!" said in the tone of a toddler is in my heart, but I'm renouncing that.  Starting with Heart 2 Haiti and sponsoring a child.  I've been wanting to do it since the earthquake.  Felt led, but tried so hard not to let emotions rule me.  Well, tonight as I sent the e-mail I even had a qualm of "you shouldn't do this." But you know what? Yes, I should! WE should.

It's $35 and one more child. I wish I could sponsor 10. I wish we could buy more for them. Help more. Make a trip there.  And ya know what? Maybe in the future we will be able to.  I'm working on flipping our list.

What's the list?  The list is the top 5 things on which we use the money God has given us.  Here's how Andy put it.

1. Spend (Me)
2. Pay back debt (Me)
3. Pay taxes (We)
4. Save (Me)
5. Give (God and others)

He's so right! I knew this, but I didn't really KNOW, if you know what I mean.  I hadn't thought of it as putting God last.  Andy pointed out that God thinks in percentages.  Jesus watched the widow put in her coin and was amazed by it, pointing out the hugeness of her gift.  In dollar signs it was so much less, but in percentages it was everything!  Andy challenged his listeners to figure out their percentage.  How much are we living on?  How much are we giving to others? 

He read from Malachi, that beautiful plea from God to test him and see! The promise was given to the nation of Israel that he would open the floodgates of heaven and pour out blessings.  That promise is related to a truth, if we will honor him, give to him freely and put him first.  That's what it really is, a heart thing, not a money thing.  Then, if we put him first He will do great things in us.  Doesn't mean he'll make us rich. Not with money anyway, but if we let Him he will use us, work in us.

It is my desire to be changed.  It is my desire to know God and honor God and I'll be honest it seems like there's a big huge brick wall between. I sometimes wonder why other people can experience God in such a real way and yet I feel like a kid watching a tv show.  This just might be part of the solution. 

One finger at a time, one debt payment, one cash budgeted expense at a time, one gift to a charity, to the church, to help someone else instead of myself/my family we are going to work on flipping our list.  What a beautiful gift it would be to give our children a legacy of giving, a legacy of honoring God with ALL he has blessed us with and not focusing on what we want and don't have but instead looking to see what else we can give.

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