"OK, Bob. You have gone off the deep end with this Stewardship series. The first posts in this series on stewardship made sense to me. Yet, this makes no sense. You don't know what I am going through financially. I am in debt up to my eyeballs. I am barely making my income meet my expenses. I am far from being ready for retirement. Honestly, I am anything but grateful."
Think with me for a second and come up with a list of the most important subject topics in the Bible. There would be a few consistent topics in most people's top ten list. Salvation and love could be consistent top "5-ers." Beyond those, a topic that I think is at the core values of Christianity is simply Gratitude. The Bible points to everything that we have to be grateful for. The question is do we live a life that reflects that gratitude or a life that reflects what we interpret as being wrong? Regardless of what life throws our way or the bad decisions that we make along the way, we all have a long list of things to be grateful for. We also have to contend with Human nature. Because of that, and if we were honest, we would have two lists. One list would cover what we are grateful for and the other what we are not grateful for. Perhaps that second list (if we were honest) is longer?
The funny thing about human nature is that it gets in the way of the supernatural power of God and sends us down roads of thought that God knew would happen yet never wanted for us.
Let us look at what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (KJV)
At first glance, I find it interesting that Paul wrote everything and not everything (in the KJV).
The subtleties of the Bible are no accident. I think the scripture is written that way for emphasis. It is funny because if you say the word 'everything' it kind of rolls off the tongue and perhaps loses some of its emphasis. No, Paul wrote EVERY...THING. Not some things. Not every other thing. Every...thing. That pretty much covers it.
It is tough to find much comfort in money and financial troubles and that is OK. I am not saying to go around declaring your love for debt and how happy it has made you and how happy you are that it is in your life. I am not saying to declare how happy you are that you have hardly anything saved for retirement. Nor am I saying to throw a party for the fact you have run out of money and have no idea how you are going to pay your light bill. Be thankful for where you are in your life. Author Dan Pilla says in his book, Salt and Light, "with every problem there is an opportunity."
Financial chaos brings opportunity.
Opportunity to see God, for God to show you things that you never imagined could take place, to strengthen you, to grow you, to show you the life and the Will that He wants for you, and most importantly, invite you to try a life totally 100% dependent on God. Not sometimes as in every other time....100% dependent on God. Think of where you are right now financially. Are you where you want to be? Are you feeling guilt over decisions that you made? Are you fearful?
Flip the paradigm.
Thank God for your life's circumstances and ask him to put you on a path of seeking His will and a life 100% dependent on Him. Be grateful for the opportunity because oftentimes it takes financial chaos to create the surrender to the opportunity.
The key is that gratitude positions us to dwell on the positive and not the negative...that and the second part of what Paul wrote in that verse tomorrow. For today, focus on the opportunity...I know I will be.
various financial topics.