Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Have Not Seen the Righteous* Forsaken...

...nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:25
* I have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.  It is none of my own doing.  Might write a post on this sometime...



Warning: Disconnected thoughts, bad paragraph construction, incongruous theme to follow.  Musings. Weak conclusion.  Not an essay, by any means. 

It saddened me to see a middle-aged man walking down the highway the other day, with a little cart and two suitcases.  He was clean cut, wearing a nice hat and a button-down shirt.  Obviously he has fallen on hard times, and I just can't imagine what it must be like for him. Okay, he could have been merely walking home from a slumber party, but I doubt it.  He was apparently homeless, but it appeared that he still own his dignity and self-respect. He did not look like the typical homeless person in our area, the dirty, derelict man who must fluff up a piece of hard desert floor for his bed.  I wondered where this man would spend the night. I'm sure that there are many more like him, and sadly, the number is growing.

I wondered where we would go if we lost our home. What would we do? We aren't in danger of losing our home, but still, I wonder. The book of Hebrews says of some of God's people, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented: (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  Why?  Why didn't God provide at least the basics for these people who loved him?  Why did he test their faith so rigorously? It is comforting to know, at least, that in their desperation God had not forsaken them.

He is not at fault -- God is always good.  I was jolted into the realization that like a great percentage of Americans, I have an entitlement attitude.  While we are eligible for all sorts of federal aid (the "poverty" level is laughably high), we don't believe America's economy problem can be solved by people who are a part of it.  But in a weak moment I can feel resentful for having to shop for groceries prudently or for having to wait for money to buy a pair of comfortable shoes.

In the old days, parents didn't discuss the finances with their children.  Wise parents still don't.  But I am not always wise. I have to confess, when the kids ask, "Why can't we have _____________?" I often reply that I don't have the money right now, if that is the only reason.  Maybe I shouldn't tell them that. We aren't lacking anything we need, in fact, of the things that really matter, we have more than what 95% of families in America have.  God has really blessed us.  But kids can see the inconsistency of splurging on lemon cremes or ice cream, and saying there's no money for ________________.  If I do tell them there's no money, how do I prevent them from becoming resentful towards God? And if I don't tell them there's no money, how will they know when it is God who has provided our hearts' desire?  How do you handle that question?

Several weeks ago a fellow blogger, sorry, I don't remember who it was, wrote a post about a book, Family Feasts for $75 a Week, by Marilyn Osten. (That's for a family of four.)  The blogger said she had already saved a lot of money by following the ideas in this book, and she had not even read it all.  Being the prudent-wife-wanna-be that I am, I immediately checked the book out at my library and began to read it.  But other than some recipes I might have copied out, the book didn't help me much.  I already implement most of the author's ideas.  Of course you can save a bunch on groceries each month, if you cut out soda and chips and convenience foods and frozen foods and snacks and brand names and meat that costs more than $2 a pound.  I want to know how to save money after you are already doing these things. After questioning the mathematizing money man in residence here, I found we already do eat for about $85 per person per month.   (I need to double-check that calculation.) That also includes our paper goods,  health and beauty items, and cleaning supplies (and chocolate chips -- necessities, you know).  And that's without coupons or Aldi's. But I'm a cheapskate. I want to get out of Wal*Mart for about $50 every two weeks, so I can spend that money elsewhere. 

We are often blessed by the grace of other families who share their bounty and their good deals with us. That is the hand of God in our lives, and we are very grateful. While it is a huge blessing to receive, it is more blessed to give, Jesus said. Truly I would like to experience more often the blessing of giving.  (I need to think outside the box about what we can give.)  Maybe God knows that if the tables were turned, if we were the ones with plenty, we would just hoard it. I don't know.  The prosperity of fools shall destroy them; that's Bible, but if you don't believe it, just read some follow-up stories on people who have won the lottery. We don't want that, of course.

There is a certain, balanced grace necessary to being the one who is always on the receiving end.  It requires a lot of humility, a trait that I am not over-endowed with. (God is still teaching me, after many years.) It requires a constant reminder to self that I must not come to expect these blessings, or to feel entitled to them, or feel resentful when those blessings drop off, because that entitlement attitude is covetous and ungrateful. The grace of receiving teaches me that I should tell only my heavenly Father what my needs are, and be careful not to drop hints elsewhere. It demands that I live my moments in gratitude to my Saviour, who provides our needs and even our wants through the hands of others. And it requires that I not neglect to show my appreciation to those whose hands he has used. 

...I hope I am learning these things, and that I am learning to be content with the goodness God has shown me.  It is good, after all, just to know him!  He is the bread of life, and he is satisfying. :)


It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O most high:
To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night,
Psalm 92:1,2


6 comments:

  1. "be careful not to drop hints elsewhere." With all the grace and humility possible I disagree with this statement. You see there are people out there praying to God to help them find a way to help others and if you fail to speak up, then you can not help them with there prayer. I know I often ask God to show me or some how let me know what there need is and what I can do the meet that need. When I then hear about a need (or a hint as you say) I am thrilled that it is something I can do. Please let others know what you need. There are people like me praying to learn what is needed by others. I love that you are leaning on God, now let other help you please. Allow God to use them.

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  2. Lynn Marie,
    I do understand what you are saying. I have often been frustrated by others' silence when they have needs. But God does move people to help others even when they don't know why they are doing it. :) I think of George Mueller, who in all his years of running orphanages, cast all his cares only on Jesus. The blessings of God are not merely material, in fact, those are the least of God's blessings. The head knows this, but the heart is covetous. I am just trying to adjust my spiritual "glasses". God graciously gives us our daily bread, and that is all we need. :) Now we must fix our "want" list accordingly!

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  3. I've about trimmed my grocery bill as far as I can manage too, I think. I look for other expenses to cut out now. Being content with having the basics is wise. I do pray that the LORD will give you some of the desires of your heart along the way. Our camper was certainly one of the desires of my heart that I had no hopes of obtaining. Yet, there it sits in my driveway as a monument to God's goodness.

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  4. Lovely post! I too have trimmed the bill and tried not to say because we cannot afford it right now ( and yep enjoyed the ice cream). But God is soooooooo good! And I am so blessed. I have been trying to teach my kids that when we use the standards of the world to measure our sucess and our joy we always fall short. But with God we can count it all joy.
    I do so agree with LynnMarie. Dropping hints not so much or whining about it not so much but sharing with faith a true need in the body of Christ. So many scriptures point to us helping one another out. It is such a joy to give and if others are able to give then it blesses not only you but them as well. There is a season and praying for God to provide that you might give is part of that. Anyway awesome post!

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  5. Couple thoughts (sometimes I do have one):
    1. I know, for me, pride used to stop me from letting people know my needs. My heart was changed, and I feel I am supposed to let my needs be known. It's not uncommon for me to have a FB status that says: Anyone have size 6 snow pants? Though, also not uncommon to see one that says: Free to a good home: [insert something I am giving away].
    That seems to only be half a thought.

    2. I wonder why food is always where we look to cut things first? We eat 3x a day. It goes into our body, so we really need to be thoughtful about it. I just wonder. I would rather wear last year's (okay, older) clothes/shoes, etc. I keep driving my funky old van because I want to have better quality food. But maybe it's just me.

    3. That's it. I ate a chocolate chip cookie today and thought of you.

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  6. The only thing I really wanted to add here is that your family is a very giving family. The letters and small gifts from the girls have always been met here with excitement and smiles. The beautiful crafts that have been hand made are treasures that I don't think even one of us will ever forget. The wisdom in emails that you've shared and just the way you share your heart, Sally, is a "giving" thing. Please don't underestimate how much you give to others, it's more than you know.
    Blessings to you and yours, Julie

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