Life has been seriously unfolding and the realization that I’m a grown-up and should be responsible couldn’t get more real. Since March this year, the only money I’ve received from my parents was a small loan that my mum gave me when I was moving houses which I already refunded. God has graciously provided opportunities for me to work, earn and therefore sustain myself and so it was only fair to ease my parent’s burden. However, even as I worked, at the back of my mind I knew in case things didn’t work out I’d turn to my parents.
I’m your typical kind of girl. I’ll pass by town with absolutely no plan for shopping but because I saw a nice top and had money in my pocket, I’ll go ahead and buy it. I particularly acknowledge my unhealthy and uncalculated clothe-buying patterns. Sometimes my mind just tells me that the top I wear with a certain trouser or skirt isn’t as beautiful as the one the hawker in town is selling and I’ll most likely not overcome the temptation to buy it.
I also struggle with over-indulgence. Once in a while I eat lots of junk especially when I have the confidence and warmth of money in my pocket. I have a sweet tooth that would want to sample all the baked products in the cake shops in town, of course at an expense.
I’m now in ministry as a STEM staff with FOCUS Kenya for one year. The primary way of survival is by raising financial support. The stipend I get every month is not a lot, but enough if budgeted well. Somehow, I managed to convince myself for most part of the year that I’d work on my financial stewardship when I join STEM especially when I’d be confronted by the fact that I’m irresponsible. Here we are!
I have conditioned my mind not to think of any back-up plan of having my parents intervene in case I land in a financial need. I’m a grown up, and a first born for that matter! My parents can now use all their energies and money to provide for my younger sisters. I’m also not off the hook, I should chip in and help.
Sunday’s sermon in church was hard on me. God is the creator of all and deserves all the glory. But what has man done? Suppressed this truth and exchanged it for a lie only to worship and serve the creature rather than the creator. Yet God’s glory demands obedience of faith from all the nations. (Romans 1) Throughout Romans Paul has the passion for seeing the nations captivated by God’s glory and as a result place their faith in Him in obedience.
For some reason I began thinking about my obedience in all facets of my life including my finances. To be honest, I’m selfish and have lived oblivious of the fact that this world is not my home. My priorities are not right at all. I have failed to give generously, sacrificially and regularly. I’m not responsible in the little given to me. In as much as I may claim to have sympathy on those around me in need, I’ve said prayers for them but not cared for them through giving. Jim Elliot says that he is no fool who gives that which he can’t keep to gain that which he can’t lose. I’m afraid this hasn’t been me. I have idolized money and the things it enables us acquire.
Practicing financial responsibility for me has meant drawing a budget. I went ahead and did one which is balanced and therefore very impressive. But then another problem arises, discipline! Yes, I have discipline issues. Not only so, it’s possible that I also have contentment issues. The way on Friday evening I struggled wondering whether to do some impulse shopping or not (which I actually did, sadly). It’s not that I’m even going naked. I don’t need these clothes I keep on buying. How do you explain this? Unconsciously, I also find myself depending on my strength and efforts to live up to the required standards which results to a mistrust in God. This is a crisis of sorts!
I’m not being legalistic by pointing all these faults I see within me. Far be it from me! It actually reminds me what scripture says, that the law makes aware of sin. In all these I see my depravity and my inability to please God unless He helps me. My heart is desperately evil. For the good I so want to do I don’t do it, and the evil that I loathe, that I do! I have an escalated view of myself, easily trusting that I could get myself off the hook of sinfulness. Only Jesus can deliver me!
Therefore, I’ll take it to the Lord in prayer. I’ll still keep my monthly budget. But I’ll depend on God to help me use my finances in a manner that glorifies Him. I’ll pray for contentment and a love for God that makes me hate even my very own life. Most importantly, I’ll pray that I’m captivated by God’s glory and as a response offer my all to Him. That as I behold the grace of God, His mercy in giving us His son as a sacrifice for our sins and the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, I will rest upon the finished work of the cross and I’ll be moved to live for God’s glory in all facets of my life, including giving my every penny!